To borrow a line from “Anchorman”…that escalated quickly.
The DeSean Jackson story continues to grow. The rumors are all the place now.
League source has told me eagles are listening to offers for desean jackson.. patriots and niners have inquired. #Eaglestalk
— Derrick Gunn (@TheRealDGunnCSN) March 18, 2014
We still don’t know anything for a fact, but this story has grown from speculation to something more. Tim McManus wrote an excellent piece on Monday that summarized the situation to that point.
According to multiple sources familiar with the situation, Jackson is unsure about his standing on the team and troubled by what is being written about him. He has reached out to some of his teammates to express his concern. One of Jackson’s top confidants says that the whole situation has become “a bit of a distraction.”
Adding to the confusion/strain is the fact that the Eagles had yet to contact Jackson as of Saturday to offer assurance. This seems a little peculiar, particularly since Chip Kelly has been very careful about making sure his players know where they stand with him. For instance, he spoke with every key veteran on the roster during the draft last April immediately after picking someone at their position.
“I called everybody,” said Kelly. “I called Brent Celek when we took a tight end and James Casey. I called Mike [Vick] and we talked to Jason Peters and we talked to Todd Herremans. It’s just kind of the way we’ve done things. When we signed people in free agency I called our guys just to make sure they know where we were. I’m really big on open communication. I don’t want there to be gray areas. I think sometimes there are gray areas because there’s a lack of communication between people.”
Jackson is one of the top offensive players on this team, his name is being bandied about as trade bait, and the lines have been silent.
“We’re in the dark like everyone else,” said a source close to Jackson. “Thought he would at least be worthy of some kind of communication.”
Many of you would like this story to go away and prove to be much ado about nothing. That just doesn’t seem realistic at this point. The Eagles have had multiple chances to publicly address the story and kill it. Each time they danced around the subject. The response from some is that the Eagles don’t address rumors, but this is one they would kill in a flash if it was totally bogus. Add in the fact that DeSean hasn’t heard from Chip Kelly or anyone else about the rumors and I think you would be naive to think this is just noise.
Does this mean DeSean is definitely out? No, of course not. This is a fluid situation, to put it mildly. The Eagles are likely balancing trade ideas with the thought of keeping DeSean and then considering their options in a draft that is flush with WR talent.
I don’t have any inside scoops, but it seems like Chip Kelly might feel DeSean isn’t an idea fit for his kind of football. I’m not talking about X’s and O’s. I’m talking about having a total commitment to football and being part of the team. DeSean, like many star receivers, is a bit of a prima donna. Some coaches can deal with that, while others don’t deal with it so well.
Before you rip Kelly for being like that, understand that some coaches are control freaks that need to rule the roost a certain way. Jimmy Johnson needed his guys. Bill Walsh, too. Bill Belichick absolutely rules the roost in New England. Anyone who doesn’t do things his way isn’t going to last long.
If DeSean truly isn’t a Kelly guy, that isn’t some kind of moral judgment. Kelly needs players who will fully buy in to his ideas. Kelly made the situation work last year, but might see that is isn’t going to last for the long haul. If that is the case, this would be the time to make the move. The Eagles have Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper in place and can spend an early pick on a WR.
This move would be risky. DeSean is a known commodity. Cooper isn’t. Maclin is coming off injury. And a rookie would be a total mystery.
All I can say is that I trust Chip. If he does make this move, it is because he thinks it needs to be done. From the outside it makes little sense, but I trust that Chip isn’t going to get rid of a talented offensive weapon unless he feels it is truly the right thing to do. This wouldn’t be a knee-jerk move. Kelly spent the 2013 season trying to figure out who fit and who didn’t. This isn’t like Buddy Ryan instantly deciding that he didn’t like a player and getting rid of him. Kelly is a smart coach and if he’s going to make an extreme move, I expect that he’s got very good reasons for it.
We’ll see what happens.