ORLANDO — It’s not really about the “if” anymore. The Eagles are looking to deal DeSean Jackson and everyone – from the executives roaming the halls of the Ritz-Carlton this week to the fans at home – seems to know it.
It’s really about the “why.”
Why would the Eagles be looking to get rid of a 27-year old wide receiver who is coming off a career year and his third Pro Bowl bid? If you are in serious pursuit of this franchise’s first Super Bowl championship, why remove one of the most productive players from that equation?
This is how Howie Roseman responded to that inquiry:
“I’ve always been open and willing to talk to [the media] and our fans if it’s appropriate. Other than speculation I’m happy to do that,” said Roseman during a half-hour session with the local media Monday. “Obviously, the only thing we care about is winning. We want to win and we are fortunate that we have an owner that gives us the resources to do it. I think if you even look where we are in terms of team spending this offseason, it’s high. We’re going to be aggressive and do whatever it takes. For us, it’s about building the team. We’re just starting. This is our first year in this program.”
What the general manager seems to be saying is that it’s not that the Eagles aren’t willing to spend, but want to allocate their resources to those that have been identified as core players who will be around for the build. It’s pretty clear by this point that Jackson isn’t a part of this team’s long-term vision. This certainly brings into question, though, whether they are committed enough to winning it all in 2014.
Roseman was hesitant to comment on Jackson directly.
“He’s still under contract,” was his response to the initial inquiry about the wide receiver. “For us, until there’s anything to report on our players, that’s where we are right now.”
Further questions specifically about the receiver were essentially turned away. So other avenues were explored. Specifically about the importance that Chip Kelly and the Eagles' executives are putting on cultivating a particular culture.
“It’s going to be a constant commitment for us to have the right culture and the right chemistry,” he said. “When we looked at last year, it was the first year in that process. It was a great learning experience for us about what we had, what we needed and you’d like to get all of that right away but certainly that takes time. That’s the most important thing that we’re trying to do is develop that and develop a core group of players that we can go with for a period of time. But I think that’s something that is constantly evolving.”
Jackson is coming off his best year as a pro and was an integral part of an offense that established a number of team records, including most points, yards and touchdowns in a single season. Jackson's 1,332 receiving yards was second in team history behind only Mike Quick. The argument that he is not a scheme fit doesn't fly.
The idea that he may not be a fit in other ways certainly could apply.
“We’re trying to build a culture, we’re trying to build a team and obviously when you’re at this moment in time it’s hard to see the complete picture," said Roseman, "but we have a plan and we’re trying to execute it.”