The Philadelphia Eagles are continuing to shop wide receiver DeSean Jackson, but a report on Saturday suggests that they could cut ties with him altogether. The Daily News reports that Jackson isn't willing to restructure his contract and the Eagles could end up releasing him.
The New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers have all reportedly shown interest in acquiring Jackson, with the Jets making the biggest push so far. The biggest obstacle to a trade is Jackson's cap number; he's due to make $10.5 million in 2014 and reportedly wanted a pay raise after the season ended. Cutting him would save the Eagles $6.5 million this year and free up another $8 million in 2015.
If the Eagles are unable to work out a trade agreement, releasing him seems like the best option for both sides. Philadelphia would get some much-needed cap relief and Jackson would be free to sign with any team he wants. Still only 27, Jackson is coming off the best season of his career and would have no shortage of suitors if and when he leaves Philadelphia. A final decision could come as soon as next week during the league meetings in Orlando.
Here are some other NFL news items from a lazy Saturday.
The Atlanta Falcons confirmed that they are keeping Osi Umenyiora for the 2014 season with his current salary intact. The announcement is just a formality after rumors surfaced saying they would either ask the veteran to restructure his contract or release him. Umenyiora has a cap number of $4.76 million next year, a reasonable salary after his productive 2013, in which he recorded 7.5 sacks. Umenyiora is 32 years old and no longer an every-down player, but he still has pass rushing skills and looks to play a vital rotational role. The Falcons beefed up their defensive line with free agents Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson, and look to sport more 3-4 looks next year.
The Minnesota Vikings are looking for a new backup running back after Toby Gerhart left for Jacksonville, and they reportedly checked in on LaRod Stephens-Howling to fill the void. Stephens-Howling is currently recovering from a torn ACL, but he has ties to Vikings running back coach Kirby Wilson--the two worked together with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 5'7, 185 pound veteran is a strict change-of-pace back who contributes on special teams. He could potentially take over on kickoff returns, with the Vikings expected to get Cordarrelle Patterson more involved on the offense.
With the Oakland Raiders trading for Matt Schaub, that leaves one fewer veteran to compete with Brian Hoyer for the starting job with the Cleveland Browns. Hoyer continues to rehab from a torn ACL and is expected to participate "in some capacity" at the Browns' offseason workout program, which begins on April 7. That would be nearly six months after his injury, which he suffered in October, and would put him on track to be close to 100 percent in OTAs and training camp.
Hoyer doesn't have any veteran competition right now, but the Browns are still expected to draft a new franchise player in May. Whether it's Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles with their No. 4 pick or a second-tier prospect like Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo, it seems almost certain that Hoyer will be competing with a rookie for the starting job next year.