Some Eagles fans are totally convinced that the DeSean Jackson “story” is pure fabrication from the media. The extreme version of that argument is that there isn’t enough news going on right now so the guys are just making stuff up to get readers/listeners/viewers. I can assure you that is not the case.
Now, the story is tricky. Everyone is itching to be the guy who gets the nugget that officially breaks the story. People are beating the bushes to find a scoop on this so they can be “the guy”. I don’t think there is anything irresponsible about this. The reports I’ve seen and heard have been reasonable, even if you don’t agree with the content.
Reporters are talking to a variety of sources. Those sources could be agents, players, coaches, team employees or other people who are part of the NFL machine. Are all of those sources 100 percent reliable? No. But passing along bad info doesn’t mean the person has a bad agenda. They could totally believe the info that they’re passing on, even if it turns out to be erroneous.
Nobody really knows the Eagles exact plans, but that doesn’t mean that someone hasn’t heard “things”. It really is hard to come out and explain this in great detail because getting info from sources isn’t done in some standard format. Sometimes you get info. Other times you get hints or very broad bits of info.
I would never report anything I didn’t feel completely comfortable with. Someone fed me a good scoop a few years ago and I didn’t know the person well enough to fully trust the info so I didn’t pass it along. It turned out that the story was half-right.
I can’t speak for the mainstream guys and how they report things with any sort of expertise. I know they do hear things and don’t always report them. I take that to mean that they have a set of standards on what they’ll run with and what they won’t.
As far as things go with me…I pass along what info I can, but I don’t report everything I hear. I try to be judicious with what I pass along. I will say this…if I write about something, you can generally take that as a hint that I feel there is something to the story. Hints can be important at this time of the year. I know that puts pressure on you the reader to figure out what’s what, but that’s the best I can do on some topics.
Some of you are angry with Jimmy Bama. I love to joke around about him, but I’ll be serious for a minute. Jimmy worked hard and earned a spot at Philly.com. His job there is to write about the Eagles. They haven’t put any pressure on him to break news and be a reporter. Jimmy’s initial piece was speculation based on some evidence that was piling up. Jimmy never said “THEY’RE TRADING DESEAN!!!”.
What you don’t know is what led Jimmy to write the piece. Did he come up with that theory or did he hear some things that all of the sudden made the other info suddenly fall into place? Jimmy and I analyze info all the time. That’s what we do. Sometimes we come up with false conclusions. How much time did all reporters spend writing about the 4-3 Under last year? Everyone knew that was going to be the scheme. Oops. Chip caught us off guard and went straight to the 3-4. Sometimes we do read things correctly. I watched tape on Safeties and came to the conclusion that Malcolm Jenkins would be the best fit. The Eagles went and signed him. It felt good to be right on that one.
Jimmy introduced the idea of the DeSean trade to the mainstream. We don’t know if he came up with the idea on his own or was given a hint, but either way I think the piece he wrote was fair and responsible. He made the case for why DeSean could be dealt, but also explained why that wouldn’t make sense. Jimmy had no agenda. He was simply sharing a theory. Jimmy isn’t anti-DeSean. Not even close.
Once Jimmy’s idea got out there, it generated a lot of discussion. That led to other members of the media getting involved. Geoff Mosher wrote that DeSean was on the outs. Jeff McLane wrote a strong piece against the story. Paul Domowitch mentioned that there have definitely been discussions about trading DeSean. Les Bowen seemed to think this was more media speculation than reality. Reuben Frank is dipping his toe in the water on the side of DeSean getting dealt.
Why the differing opinions? They talk to different sources. Also, I think some just can’t see the logic of the move (Sheil Kapadia for sure). It doesn’t make a ton of sense to anyone outside the NovaCare Complex.
Make sure to read (or re-read) this piece by Tim McManus. He gives an overview of the situation and seems to have a good feel for things.
My take on this is that some in the media have heard from reliable sources that something is going on. Others in the media haven’t heard that and just struggle with the idea because it seems so far out of left field. Why trade a WR coming off his best season? Why????
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I’ve mainly focused on Chip Kelly when trying to explain how the Eagles would be making this move, but there is another consideration. DeSean’s teammates. DeSean has never been the most popular Eagle in the locker room. Teammates questioned his effort in the past when he let his contract become an on-field issue. He was benched by Andy Reid back in 2011 during a loss. There were some sideline flare-ups last year with coaches and teammates.
Which guys were the ones who generally tried to keep DeSean under control? Jason Avant and Michael Vick. Now they’re gone.
This is pure speculation on my part, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were more than a few people in the organization who were tired of dealing with DeSean.
Some of you think trading DeSean is a sign of weakness on the part of Chip Kelly and the Eagles. “If they can’t handle one guy like him, what does that say for them?” Some of you wondered about my comments about Jimmy Johnson wanting his guys and how he dealt with Michael Irvin. There were a ton of criticisms to throw at Irvin, but never on gameday. He was beyond ultra-competitive. No one ever questioned effort or toughness with Irvin. Sunday was his day. The rest of the week was a mess, but he showed up on Sunday ready to battle.
DeSean was a terrific player in 2013. Can we count on that this year? Will he be the same guy? Maybe.
If he’s dealt, that tells you that Kelly felt like it was a move that needed to be made. Kelly does open himself to major criticism if this move goes down. When I say I trust him, that doesn’t mean I’m putting blinders on and won’t be critical of the guy. I’m simply saying that while this move doesn’t make sense to me, I’m willing to trust that you know what you’re doing. Instead of a knee-jerk reaction, I’ll give you some time to show what your plan is.
Chip has proven to be smart in free agency, the draft, training / mini-camps and during the season. Perfect? No. But smart. He’s made some decisions I didn’t like, but so far they’ve mostly paid off. He has a plan. He has a vision. Chip needs the right staff and the right players to make that vision work.
If he has decided that DeSean Jackson isn’t part of that, then do move him.
Jeffrey Lurie hired Chip Kelly to come in and build the Eagles back into a strong football program. Chip needs to run things the way he wants and that is going to mean making some unorthodox decisions. If one of them is trading DeSean, so be it. Chip has my trust.
(as long as he keeps winning)
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Some of you asked about compensation. The rumor came out that the Eagles might only get a 3rd round pick. Obviously that’s not fair compensation for a player of DeSean’s caliber. That said, trades don’t always turn out to be fair. The market changes due to circumstances. If teams think the Eagles are willing to trade DeSean, his value goes down.
Some have suggested the Eagles get a pick and then move up in the 1st round if they trade DeSean to a team with a higher pick. I’m fine with that deal. The only problem is that the team might be behind you (NE, SF). You could still figure something out.
The Eagles will try to maximize the compensation, but don’t get your hopes up for some huge return. That doesn’t seem likely at this point.