After a series of moves that would have been regarded before free agency began as implausible, it’s impossible to rule out further surprises.
In Philadelphia the potential surprise that wouldn’t really be a shock would come from the decision to part ways with receiver DeSean Jackson. Given the current market for receivers, Jackson’s $10.5 million salary and a $12.75 million cap number becomes glaring.
Yes, he had a career year in 2013, with 1,332 receiving yards. But, as Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com recently explained during a visit to PFT Live, Jackson’s size and me-first streak could make him vulnerable to a trade or a release.
On Friday night, coach Chip Kelly had a chance to throw water on speculation regarding Jackson’s status, during the Maxwell Football Club’s annual event. Instead, Kelly avoided the topic, as explained by Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“The coach sidestepped a question about speculation that DeSean Jackson could be moved, joking that he’ll determine the importance of Jackson among the Eagles’ receivers by how reporters predict they will be prioritized,” Berman writes.
Said Kelly of Jackson: “He’s a priority at wide receiver before [Jeremy] Maclin, behind [Riley] Cooper, or is it Cooper before Maclin, or Maclin before Cooper? I’ll check what you write and tell you how I feel about it.”
That last part was a slap at a report from the Inquirer that the team prioritized Maclin before Cooper, which implied that the team would bring Maclin back and let Cooper leave through free agency. Instead, the Eagles signed Cooper before Maclin, to a longer-term deal with more guaranteed money.
While Kelly may have simply been toying with reporters, an unconditional commitment to Jackson hasn’t been provided. With Darrelle Revis, DeMarcus Ware, Julius Peppers, and Steve Smith all released in recent days, it’s impossible to presume Jackson is safe — especially without an unequivocal declaration from the team that he is.