Trade rumors have swirled around DeSean Jackson for most of the offseason and it turns out there is some truth to the speculation. While the Philadelphia Eagles aren't actively shopping Jackson, they have listened to inquiries from interested teams, according to CSN Philly.
According to the report, the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers have both called to inquire about Jackson. Citing a source, the report said the Eagles are asking for at least a third-round pick in return. This isn't the first time Philadelphia gauged interest in the Pro Bowl receiver. The Eagles reportedly floated Jackson in trade discussions last offseason.
Jackson is coming off a career-best season. He finished with 1,332 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. According to CSN Philly, the Eagles have been in contact with Jackson and told him they are listening to offers, but are not actively pursuing a deal.
The 27-year-old Jackson excelled in his first season playing for Chip Kelly, but his relationship with Kelly and other coaches may be part of the reason the Eagles are listening to interested teams. According to Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com, Jackson's personality isn't a great fit for the environment Kelly is trying to create. Jackson reportedly clashed with wide receiver coach Bob Bicknell. Jackson and Bicknell were caught having an animated conversation on the sideline during Philadelphia's Week 15 game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Jackson's contract is also a factor, both in Philadelphia's willingness to listen to offers and why teams may be hesitant to trade for the wideout. Jackson has three years and nearly $30 million of base salary left on the five-year $48.5 million deal he signed prior to 2012. He's set to earn $10.5 million in base salary next season, according to Spotrac. Two days after Philadelphia lost to New Orleans in the playoffs, Jackson said he felt he was deserving of a new deal.
The Eagles signed Riley Cooper to a long-term contract this offseason and brought back Jeremy Maclin on a one-year deal. Philadelphia reportedly isn't interested in re-working Jackson's contract. If Maclin is healthy and recovered from his knee injury, the Eagles have excellent depth at wide receiver and would be able to handle the loss of Jackson if a team met the asking price. Some of the savings could eventually be put toward an extension for Maclin, should he have a solid season.
There is a major gap between listening to offers and actually making a deal, however. Teams routinely inquire about players without result. The Eagles listened to offers last offseason, reportedly lowering their asking price from a second-round pick, but still no deal was made. Kelly has sidestepped questions thus far. By the end of the offseason, the rumors could lead to nothing and Jackson will once again suit up for Philadelphia.
Unless a strong denial surfaces, I think it's time to accept there's at least a possibility that DeSean Jackson might not be back with the Eagles in 2014.