March 11, 2019
According to Tim McManus and Jenna Laine of ESPN, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson is being dangled as trade bait, and he reportedly wants to return to Philadelphia, where he played for six years from 2008 to 2013, before Chip Kelly cut him because he didn't like him.
On the eve of the NFL's legal tampering period, multiple sources told ESPN that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been actively shopping wide receiver DeSean Jackson for a potential trade and that the Philadelphia Eagles would be a preferred destination for Jackson.
A trade would be preferred for the Bucs, but some teams ESPN has spoken to believe Jackson will be released rather than traded. Jackson is still under contract, and the Bucs do have the option of holding onto him for 2019.
The Eagles are expected to have mutual interest in Jackson, who would provide the deep threat they sorely lacked in 2018 after Mike Wallace broke his leg in Week 2 -- against Tampa Bay. However, it's to be determined whether they'd be willing to trade for him or would be interested only if he is released.
Jackson is scheduled to count for $10,000,000 on the Bucs' salary cap in 2019, with no penalty if they release him. Before this report, it was already well-known that DeSean wanted out, however, his cost isn't that high for a player who can still take the top off a defense. Both head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Jameis Winston have said they want Jackson to stay, however, as the ESPN story noted, the Bucs are short on cap space.
According to OverTheCap.com, the Buccaneers are only $2,127,022 under the cap. No team in the NFL has less room under the cap to operate.
"All options are on the table," Bucs GM Jason Licht said at the 2019 NFL Combine. "DeSean has been a great player in this league for a long time. We like speed. Bruce loves speed. He fits the bill there. He hasn't lost a step, last I looked. Ideally, we'd love to have the opportunity to see what we can do to keep all of our good players."
The Eagles' offense badly needs speed, and Jackson is one of the most -- if not the most -- prolific deep threats in the history of the NFL. His fit in the Eagles' offense as the No. 2 receiver on the outside is obvious. Even if he can't duplicate the production he had in his first stint in Philadelphia, his mere presence on the field could open up the intermediate ares of the field for Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, and even the run game.
Jackson has killed the Eagles since they dumped him during the 2014 offseason. In six games against Philly since then, Jackson had 24 catches for 569 yards (23.7 YPC), and 3 TDs. The Eagles were 1-5 in those games.
According to the ESPN report, Jackson's priorities do indeed line up with what the Eagles have to offer.
Jackson's desire has been to play for a contender. He wants to play for a coach and with a quarterback who understand the unique needs of a veteran wide receiver in the twilight of his career.
The Eagles are certainly a contender, and Doug Pederson is a coach who has given his older veteran players certain privileges.
The report states that the Eagles are (emphasis mine) "expected to have mutual interest in Jackson," which doesn't necessarily mean that they presently do. We'll see. On the field, he certainly makes a lot of sense.
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