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April 07, 2020

Report: The Eagles tried to trade Alshon Jeffery last season

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46_11032019_EaglesvsBears_Alshon_Jeffery_KateFrese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Alshon Jeffery during the Philadelphia Eagles game against the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on November 3, 2019.

Howie Roseman and the Philadelphia Eagles tried to trade wide receiver Alshon Jeffery during the 2019 season, according to a report from Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

It didn’t take long before Howie Roseman realized that he had made a mistake when he guaranteed Alshon Jeffery’s salary for 2020 just before last season.

The Eagles general manager began actively shopping Jeffery about a month later, NFL sources told The Inquirer, as the wide receiver’s production waned, his injuries mounted, and he became implicated as the anonymous source behind disparaging comments about the team to ESPN.

Jeffery had become aware that he was on the market and was troubled by the mixed messages he had received from the team, a source close to the receiver said.

The timeline here is interesting, in that Roseman seemingly tried to deal Jeffery before "Josina Anderson Anonymous Report, Part II."

September 7, 2019: Eagles re-do Jeffery's deal, guaranteeing his salary in 2020.

"About a month later": Roseman begins trying to deal Jeffery.

October 17, 2019: An "anonymous player," later to be outed as Jeffery, criticizes Roseman (for not trading for Jalen Ramsey), and Carson Wentz.

As we noted in our Alshon Jeffery offseason primer of sorts, trading Jeffery, in his current state, will be almost impossible, seeing as (a) he has a serious Lisfranc injury from which he likely won't be recovered until at least September, (b) he did not play well in 2019, and (c) you know, the anonymous bashing of teammates and the front office.

Releasing Jeffery would have been extremely difficult before a new collective bargaining agreement was reached, as his full dead money hit of over $26 million would have been applied to the 2020 salary cap. With a new CBA completed, the team can now use a somewhat more palatable "June 1" designation on him, which would delay a sizable chunk of the $26 million dead money hit until 2021.

Many (self included) assumed that the team would release Jeffery quickly after that June 1 designation became available. They did not.

In a conference call in March, Roseman addressed Jeffery, unprompted. 

"Obviously, the elephant in the room is Alshon," Roseman said. "Alshon’s gotta get healthy. That’s the No. 1 priority for us and for him. He understands. He knows what’s being said about him. He understands that he has a lot to prove and he’s anxious to do that. So he’s not living in a bubble. He understands that."

NFL teams don't appear poised to gather anytime soon amid the global COVID-19 outbreak, so there's really no rush to release Jeffery. Hell, the on-time start of the 2020 season is questionable, at best

Should Jeffery recover fully from his Lisfranc injury and the offseason extends into the fall, Roseman might at least have a puncher's chance of dealing him, which would save the team roughly $10 million in dead money, so their patience makes sense.

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