DeSean Jackson rumors: Raiders, Chiefs head teams of those interested in Jackson, who else could be in the mix?

The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

There are supposedly at least nine teams that have inquired on DeSean Jackson's cost and availability. Who could those teams be, and which franchises are definitely not calling his agent?

Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson became the most surprising addition to the NFL free agency market this week, and it shouldn't shock anyone to know that several teams are interested in adding Jackson. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Saturday that nine teams have inquired on Jackson, and that the New York Jets were not one of them.

Who could those nine teams be?

Signing Jackson will take up some 2014 salary cap space. It might not require as much as the $12.5 million that the Eagles were due to use on him, but it would make sense that any team that adds Jackson has some room to work with. The teams listed as having less than $5 million in cap space, according to OverTheCap.com: the Lions, Steelers, Saints, Chargers, Panthers, Patriots, Ravens, Chiefs, 49ers and Cardinals.

The Chicago Bears renegotiated their deal with Jay Cutler in order to free up cap room to sign Jared Allen. If Kansas City, Carolina or San Francisco wanted to sign Jackson, some creativity would be needed.

Kansas City Chiefs:

With just over $4 million in cap space, the Chiefs may need to find room in the budget in order to sign Jackson. They currently owe quarterback Alex Smith $8 million in non-guaranteed money for 2014 and that's the end of his deal. Kansas City could possibly sign Smith to an extension, add guarantees and lower his 2014 cap number.

Why it makes sense

The only other head coach that Jackson has known in his NFL career besides Chip Kelly is Kansas City head coach Andy Reid. There have already been rumors that the team is interested, and why shouldn't they be? Jamaal Charles led the team in receiving yards last season with just 693 of them, and Dwayne Bowe was next at 673 yards. The Chiefs desperately need someone to play opposite of Bowe and boost the offense so that they will be a more realistic threat in the AFC next season.

They fell apart down the stretch and couldn't hold onto their big lead against the Colts in the playoffs. Adding Jackson would immediately make the offense a lot more interesting and give Smith the additional weapon that he needs.

Why it doesn't make sense

Again, Kansas City doesn't have much room to work with. The Chiefs will have to hope that Jackson isn't expensive in year one and possibly year two, three, and so on, due to the fact that they still need to figure out long-term contracts for players like Smith, Derrick Johnson, Justin Houston, and Dontari Poe.

It's hardly a road block that can't be overcome, otherwise the Chiefs wouldn't have any interest at all, but the size and language of any contract for Jackson in Kansas City will be interesting.

Buffalo Bills:

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport listed the Bills as a wild card for adding Jackson's services. Buffalo has over $14 million in cap room and shouldn't have any problem adding Jackson to its budget.

Why it makes sense

Well, the Bills aren't very good. Their defense has been getting better and better, it seems, but the offense is still pretty slow on the uptake. Like Kansas City, Buffalo didn't have any receivers go over 700 yards and they weren't led in yardage by a wide receiver. Tight end Scott Chandler led the team with 655 yards.

Head coach Doug Marrone is the offensive guru who helped build the Saints into what they are today, but he's lacking the weapons to put up big numbers in Buffalo. The Bills added Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin in the draft last year, but Jackson is proven and ready right now.

Adding that kind of speed to an offense that already has Goodwin and C.J. Spiller could significantly change Buffalo's prospects in 2014.

Why it doesn't make sense

Well, Buffalo hasn't really been a landing spot for marquee free agents. The Bills just refused to pay Jairus Byrd, possibly their best player, what he wanted and now he's gone. Does it make any sense that they'd now go out and give big money to a player who has a reputation as a locker room distraction and could possibly land in contract disputes down the line?

Buffalo had to pay Mario Williams all of the money in order to get him to sign with the franchise two years ago. What will it cost to add Jackson?

Oakland Raiders:

In which ways do the Oakland Raiders not make sense for DeSean Jackson?

Why it makes sense

The Raiders have over $14 million in cap space for next season, so they can pay Jackson. They have a reputation for adding the fastest players in NFL history, and Jackson is one of the speediest in the game. Oakland's receivers could use an upgrade, while Rod Streater and Denarius Moore would definitely benefit from his presence as a player who defenses actually need to pay attention to.

Jackson is from California and going to Oakland might be the closest he could get to his hometown of Long Beach, since San Diego likely wouldn't have any interest.

Jackson to the Raiders would seem to make the most sense of any teams and he's reportedly interested in them, too, via Rapoport.

Why it doesn't make sense

If Jackson has any interest in winning games any time soon, he may not want to play for the Raiders. The rebuilding project still seems to be at least a couple years from panning out, especially when Peyton Manning is still active in Denver, with the Chiefs and Chargers both also making the playoffs last season.

Washington Redskins:

The other team that Rapoport listed as a wild card for Jackson's services was the Redskins. Here are why that would and wouldn't make sense for both parties.

Why it makes sense

Of all the teams listed so far, Washington is the first one to have a franchise quarterback and a No. 1 receiver. The Redskins have Robert Griffin III at quarterback, which would seem to appeal to a receiver who wants the ball to be in his general vicinity. They also have Alfred Morris at running back, and Pierre Garcon leading the NFL in catches last season with 113.

The offense is young and talented, but still lacks a viable receiving option besides Garcon. That's what Jackson would immediately bring to the team, and with about $7 million in cap space, they could probably make it work. Especially if they can sign Brian Orakpo to a long-term deal and release a few smaller contracts to free up space.

Why it doesn't make sense

It wouldn't be fair to knock the Raiders for being in a bad position and not penalize the Redskins for the same thing. They went 3-13 last season because their defense is terrible, and they don't have the No. 2 overall pick this May because they sent it to the Rams for Griffin.

Washington was the fourth-highest scoring offense in 2012 when Griffin was healthy and they didn't have any great receivers for most of the year with Garcon hurt. Do the Redskins need to be allocating their resources to more offense or more defense?

Others

Those four teams would likely be among a group of nine to inquire on Jackson. We know that the Eagles and supposedly the Jets are not among those teams. That would leave 17, of which five may have shown interest already.

The Lions, Steelers, Saints, Chargers, and Cardinals have a lack of cap space and no discernible need at wide receiver. At least, not enough to sign Jackson. The Cowboys just worked really hard to get back into a good financial situation under the cap and probably won't be looking to sign him, either. The Dolphins are probably out, since they're already spending more money on their receiving unit in 2014 than any other team in the NFL.

The Patriots only have $4 million in cap space and will go with Brandon LaFell as their wide receiver addition.

The Broncos have no need at wide receiver, having replaced Eric Decker with Emmanuel Sanders.

The Colts went with Hakeem Nicks. It would be a good get for the Giants to replace Nicks with Jackson, but they only have $5 million in cap space. They'd likely need to renegotiate someone's contract in order to free up the kind of room he would require.

The Falcons have two star wide receivers. The Bears have two star wide receivers.

The Bengals have a ton of cap space and could definitely use another great receiving option, but they owe big raises to A.J. Green and possibly Andy Dalton. The Ravens don't have much cap space and will try to stick with Steve Smith as their receiving upgrade for next season. The Texans will go with Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins and maybe draft a receiver in May.

That would leave these teams:

The Panthers don't appear to have much cap space, but also have no receivers. It would be crazy if they didn't inquire about Jackson's interest, availability and cost. This team was just the No. 2 seed, but all of a sudden Carolina's offense looks worrisome.

The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco both reportedly inquired on Jackson's availability in trade talks and should be hitting up his agent now that he's a free agent. The Seahawks lost Golden Tate and the 49ers would like another weapon for Colin Kaepernick after seeing how little depth they have after their top two. It will be bananas if Jackson joins the NFC West, too. There haven't been any rumors surrounding the Rams, though it would seem like they could also use a player like that on offense. They probably won't pay him the money he wants, however.

The Green Bay Packers have cap space and lost their No. 2 receiver, James Jones, to the Raiders. That leaves Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb at the top, but both have suffered serious injuries in the last two years. Another NFC North possibility could be the Minnesota Vikings because they need a receiver, but they'll probably just stick with Cordarrelle Patterson in that case.

The Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars both have a ton of cap space and a need at receiver. Though they both have a solid player to complement Jackson (in the case of Cleveland, something much more than just a complement) and could pay him a lot if they wanted to, but do they feel he's going to be worth it while they're still rebuilding? The Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are dealing with off-field troubles for their starting receivers, is it worth the trouble to add Jackson?

The final wild card may be the Tennessee Titans. Kendall Wright did have over 1,000 yards last season, but on just 11.5 yards per reception. Although they also have Nate Washington and Justin Hunter, Jackson would be an immediate upgrade who can certainly have an impact from Week 1.

Of those teams, it seems like Seattle, San Francisco, Carolina, Tampa Bay and Green Bay would be the most likely to inquire on his availability, assuming that the four listed above with more solid connections to Jackson are all correct.

Indeed, it's been reported that the Bucs have shown interest in Jackson, upon some conditions.

The team that adds Jackson needs to have some cap space and a need at wide receiver, and it would also seem like that team would want to be close to making the playoffs. With the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl, and the Niners and Panthers both having great seasons a year ago, plus the Packers' likely-continued dominance in the North thanks to Aaron Rodgers, Jackson could go to a great team right away and make it even more competitive.

Will he choose a better team over a better offer?

We should have that answer very soon. Otherwise, it still seems like the Raiders make the most sense of all.

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