It seems to be an inevitble conclusion now that the Eagles will trade DeSean Jackson. Like many Eagles fans, I’m somewhat baffled by this entire transgression.
Upon first hearing the initial speculation about the possibility of Jackson being traded (props to Jimmy Kempski and this piece), I felt that the reasoning makes sense as far as “business” is concerned.
However, in football, I like to reason in terms of “football sense” first, then get into all the other aspects such as money, salary cap implications, personality and off-field behavior when deciding whether or not a player should stay or go.
For strictly football reasons, it makes zero sense to trade Jackson. None. Nada. Zilch. Zero.
I was looking forward to seeing what the offense would look like with Maclin, Cooper, Jackson, Ertz, Celek, McCoy and Sproles. I mean, wow, what a lineup at the skill positions! And, we could argue that Jackson would be the main cog that would make that offensive machine run smoothly (besides Foles).
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear we’ll ever get the chance to see that in action.
Many people are having a hard time understanding why the Eagles want to get rid of him. That’s the million dollar question: Why?
We can all speculate that it’s his salary cap figure, that he brought up his contract at the end of the season, that he doesn’t get along with the WR coach, that he may have a diva attitude and that for whatever reason, he doesn’t fit the culture that Chip Kelly is trying to build.
In the end, we will never know the true reasoning behind the decision. It’s probably a combination of all of the above, but there is always one compelling reason that outweighs all the others in decisions like this.
Jackson may not be the mature, selfless consumate pro that I’m sure Kelly would prefer him to be, but he certainly isn’t a distraction as perceived by those of us on the outside. How he is perceived inside the walls of the NovaCare and locker room is the question, though.
And that’s where Chip Kelly comes in. The only thing that makes sense is that for some reason, Kelly must not feel he fits into his culture. Maybe he gets the impression that Jackson doesn’t take his program seriously enough or that he feels he’s “above” certain things due to his status as a “star.”
Whatever the reason, Kelly seems to be ready to make the boldest move of his young professional coaching career by trading away a star player still in his prime.
He is also setting himself up for some serious backlash from the fans and media.
Imagine if Jackson goes elsewhere, has a good year and makes big plays. Then imagine if the Eagles’ offense has some struggles and they ultimately fail to make the playoffs.
How many times will you hear about what a bad decision it was to trade Jackson? Hell, you’ll hear that now and especially in Week 1 of 2014 if Jackson scores big and the Eagles lose.
Winning in 2014 will be the only thing that will redeem Kelly for this apparent decision.
However, we also can’t be too quick to judge Kelly for this potential move, no matter what happens in 2014. I’m not ready to jump to any conclusion that Chip doesn’t know what he’s doing and that he’s making a big mistake.
For now, he has earned the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure Kelly realizes the value that Jackson has in his offense and what he’ll be missing without him. This is about Kelly making this his team and building it the way he sees fit.
We will need to see how a trade of Jackson ultimately works out. We will need to see how he is replaced and how the move impacted the team. Trading DeSean will have a ripple effect in the sense that it will alter draft plans and players selected as well as the performances of other players in the offense next season .
If trading Jackson opens up the door to draft another receiver who turns out to be better than him, would you still consider it a bad decision? A rookie receiver (or whomever the Eagles ultimately draft because of the trade) will likely not produce much in 2014.
That’s why the ultimate judgement for this move will have to wait until at least 2015 when we get to see the results start coming to fruition.
2014 will not provide us with the ultimate answer to that question. It may be rough in the beginning, but we’ll have to wait to see how it turns out in the end.
Chip Kelly should be judged on whether or not he eventually wins a championship. If he fails, we will look back at the Jackson trade as a mistake. If he wins, nobody will care.