DeSean Jackson Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Trading DeSean Jackson Would Be Big Mistake For Eagles

Rumors have been swirling the internet that the Philadelphia Eagles are considering trading spark plug wide receiver, DeSean Jackson.  Sources have cited that the embattled six year veteran has rubbed the front office and Eagles head coach Chip Kelly the wrong way.  Recently, Jackson made comments that he is looking for a new contract, coming off his best season as a professional.  He signed a five year extension for $47 Million, just two years ago. Jackson is set to make $10.5 Million in 2014.

Though a trade may clear a significant amount of cap space, his current contract will hinder what the Eagles will recoup in draft pick compensation.  Reports are Philadelphia is hoping for a third round pick in return for the Pro Bowl receiver.  That asking price is drastically lower than what the Minnesota Vikings received for wide receiver Percy Harvin just last season.  He netted first and third round picks, as a player with more durability concerns and much less production in his career than the Eagles star.

But the problem does not really rely on the compensation; it relies on how to replace 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns.  Jackson fits well into Chip Kelly’s uptempo offensive scheme, stretching defenses with his vertical speed.  Simply put, he made the players around him better.

If the Eagles do trade their No. 1 wide out, they would be dependent on unproven commodities to replace his production.  Can they trust Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper enough to repeat last year’s performance? He has only one year of true NFL production, spending time on special teams and an injury replacement for his first three seasons.  He had a combined 679 yards in that span, compared to the 835 yards he tallied in 2013.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin will also likely be reinserted into the starting lineup, after missing the entire season last year due to an ACL injury.  After his second major knee surgery in the past  five seasons, can the Eagles expect him to return to his pre-injury form?  Maclin has always been a nice piece to the offense, but has never surpassed the 1,000 yard mark in any season in his career.  Though he has led the team in yards and touchdowns in past years, Maclin was never considered the No. 1 option to an offense that lined DeSean Jackson across from him.

Hopes are that newly acquired running back Darren Sproles would add a weapon to the offense that could potentially supplant some of Jackson’s production.  But he is a not natural deep threat, catching most of his balls out of the backfield or in the slot.  Sproles’ best statistical receiving season was in 2011, with only 710 yards for the New Orleans Saints.  He will also be asked to be running back LeSean McCoy’s primary backup, as well as the main return man on kickoffs and punts.

The Eagles may look to add a wide receiver in the upcoming draft, but it notoriously takes young wide outs several seasons before achieving the type of production Jackson had last season.  As a culmination, the Eagles can look to added touches by Cooper, Maclin, Sproles, as well as tight ends Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and James Casey, to replace Jackson in the passing game.  But why take that risk when the team has so many other needs to address this off season?   Why create an unnecessary hole to an offense that seemed to get back on track last season?

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