The speculation of whether or not the Philadelphia Eagles will trade DeSean Jackson will just not go away. The best I can gather is it started off with this article by Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com.
Kempski put together a logical article about why Jackson could be traded and cited reasons such as the amount of money the team has currently invested in the WR position, the fact that they resigned Cooper and Maclin, Jackson’s apparent issue with the WR coach and that the draft is deep at that position.
But, to be clear, it was purely speculation.
Since then, things have just snowballed and even though Jeff McLane did his best to stop the “trade Jackson” rumors that were running rampant, it’s starting to pick up steam again.
Tim McManus of Birds 24/7 posted a nice piece yesterday laying out some more pieces to the puzzle regarding this entire situation. In it, he quotes other beat writers’ statements about the possibility, including one from Paul Domowitch who said:
Might the Eagles be willing to trade Jackson for more picks? Believe me when I tell you it’s been talked about on the second floor of NovaCare.
Domowitch stated that as if it were fact, but didn’t credit any “source with knowledge of the situation” or anyone. He stated that as if he were a part of the conversation or somehow knows this as first hand knowledge.
Either that or he overheard Billy in Bookkeeping and Jimmy the Janitor talking about it at the coffee machine that is, in fact, located on the second floor of the NovaCare Center.
McManus also had this little tidbit as well, although he states that the person who said this isn’t a “source”:
We asked one agent that has established credibility with us if he had heard anything regarding Jackson, and he responded: “Yes. Heard there is no way he is back.” He isn’t looped directly into the situation and isn’t to be looked at as a source, but it shows that the rumors are not confined to the internet. They exist in some league circles. They have reached Jackson and have been relayed to some of his teammates. They are beginning to have an impact.
Based on everything I’ve been reading about the situation, the only believable reason that I can see the Eagles trading Jackson is IF Chip Kelly truly doesn’t think he is good for the culture he is trying to build around the team.
For football reasons, it doesn’t make any sense at this point in time.
I’m going to get into whether they should or shouldn’t trade him at this point in time. Rather, I’m interested to think about what kind of compensation they could get if they did decide to trade him.
The Eagles keep maintaining that their philosophy is to build through the draft. But, in the upcoming draft that is being hailed as the deepest in the last decade, they only have six picks at their disposal.
Therefore, I’m sure they’d like a few more so that they can continue building their foundation.
The best way to determine value is to look for the most recent comparable trades that have taken place. I went back through all of the trades I could find and/or remember that date back to 2010 (trying to stay recent) that would be relative to the players I think the Eagles could trade.
Here is what I found and it’s how I’ve based my determination of what they might get in return as far as draft pick compensation. That, and a little bit of logic.
Comparable trades: Percy Harvin, Brandon Marshall, Santonio Holmes
The Vikings received Seattle’s first and seventh rounders in last year’s draft and a third rounder this year for Harvin. At the time, he was coming off of what was basically a season-ending ankle injury in 2012 and was known to have migraine issues.
Harvin also has never had a 1,000 yard receiving season, but is young and viewed as a multi-purpose threat kind of player (returner, rusher, receiver).
Brandon Marshall has been traded twice. The first time, back in 2010 when he was traded to Miami, Denver received two second-round draft picks (one in 2010, one in 2011). At that time, Marshall was a stud who was in his prime and just coming off of three straight 100+ reception and 1,000 yard+ seasons.
Two years later, Miami traded him to Chicago for two third round picks.
Santonio Holmes was coming off of a 1,200 yard receiving season and was named Super Bowl MVP after his miraculous TD catch when Pittsburgh traded him to the Jets for a fifth round pick.
However, the meager fifth-rounder had more to do with the fact Holmes had some off-field troubles, including a pending four-week suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The Steelers pretty much just wanted to get rid of him.
All of those players were in their primes at the time of the trade, just as we can still consider Jackson as being in his prime. All were considered big play threats in the receiving game with Harvin the only one considered a dual or triple threat.
Jackson can still be considered a dual threat as well, given his punt return experience and history. The only negative when comparing Jackson with these three players is his size.
Harvin and Holmes are only listed as one inch taller, but have more weight and are built more compactly as compared to Jackson’s slight frame.
With that said, Jackson is far better and more valuable than Holmes was but will likely not be viewed as valuable as Marshall and Harvin. Jackson will be 28 this year, Harvin was 24 when he was traded and Marshall was 25 (27 the second time).
Value will also be determined by what a team thinks a player’s future production will be. If I were trading for Jackson, I’d be concerned that he has only one or two more elite years left before his production begins to dip.
Because his production and on-field value is almost 100% tied to his speed, it’s just a matter of time before his speed begins to erode and therefore his production will go into serious decline.
Verdict on value: A 2014 second round pick
Here we have a former first round draft pick that was mis-used in his rookie season when they tried lining him up on the inside as a pass rusher in passing situations. He then tore his ACL in December of his rookie year and required a microfracture procedure as well.
He spent most of his sophomore season in recovery.
Then he spent his third season as a rotational guy behind Jason Babin and Trent Cole. Same goes for last year, and in a different scheme to boot.
Graham just really hasn’t caught a break and been able to be in a position and in a scheme that fits his skillset. He has just 11.5 sacks and five forced fumbles in four seasons. Unfortunately, this will impact his value as a trade chip.
The most comparable trades I could find dating back to 2010: Jerry Hughes, Lawrence Jackson, Aaron Curry
Hughes, like Graham, was a 2010 first round draft pick that could never find a niche in Indianapolis. After five sacks in three seasons, the Colts ended up trading him to Buffalo for Inside Linebacker Kelvin Sheppard in a player-for-player trade.
Sheppard was an average starter who became expendable after Buffalo drafted Kiko Alonso. Sheppard was a former third round pick that had only been in the league two years, so it’s hard to gauge what kind of draft pick he would equate to if Hughes had been dealt for a pick.
Jackson was a first round pick by Seattle in 2008 and posted 6.5 sacks over his first two seasons there. He wasn’t quite living up to expectations and when Pete Carroll took over and changed up the defensive scheme, he found himself out of position (sounds a lot like Graham’s situation).
He was then traded to Detroit for a sixth round pick.
Curry failed to live up to expectations as the fourth overall pick in the 2009 draft. After struggling for two and a half seasons in Seattle and posting 5.5 sacks, he was traded to Oakland for a seventh round pick as well as a conditional fifth rounder the following year that could escalate to a fourth rounder.
All three of these comparable players were former first rounders and the highest in draft pick compensation was a conditional fifth for the following year’s draft.
However, I would argue that Graham has shown more production in more limited playing time than any of those guys. Unfortunately, that probably won’t be enough to get a premium pick for him.
Verdict on value: A 2014 mid-round pick (no better than a fourth, no worse than a sixth)
This one should be interesting, if unspectacular. What kind of value do you place on a seventh round running back with a mysterious college career, but has also averaged 4.9 yards per carry on 190 rushes and has scored six touchdowns during two years in a very limited role?
He’s also just 22 years old.
Brown has shown flashes of being very good, but also appears to be limited in his overall skill set. And when you take into consideration that more and more teams are viewing running backs as interchangeable and not placing as much value on them in general, the trade value for Brown will be limited.
Comparable trades: LeGarrette Blount, Chris Ivory, Mike Goodson
Blount was considered a big, bruising kind of running back whose primary role would be that of a goal line back. After making a splash as a rookie in Tampa Bay, his production went down hill and he ended up being traded to the Patriots for another backup running back and a seventh round draft pick.
Ivory may be the Eagles’ best example to use as a trade precedent. After three seasons in a reserve role with the Saints, his stats (4.9 yards per carry, eight TDs, not much of a pass catcher) looked almost identical to what Brown’s stats look like after two seasons.
The Jets gave up a fourth round draft pick for Ivory.
Goodson was a reserve running back in Carolina for three years and posted only one season with any notable stats when he averaged 4.4 yards on 103 carries and scored three TDs. However, he also had 40 catches for 310 yards and was best known as a third-down type of running back.
He was traded to the Raiders for a backup offensive tackle (Bruce Campbell).
Besides those three guys, there were also other trades for running backs such as Reggie Bush and Marshawn Lynch…both players with a much better pedigree than Brown. You would think they would have garnered much more in trade value than someone like Ivory, right?
Bush was traded from the Saints to Miami for a backup safety and a swap of sixth rounders…that’s it!
Lynch was acquired by Seattle for a fourth round pick and a conditional sixth rounder the following season (not all that much more than Ivory).
With all that said, I would be shocked and awed by Howie Roseman if the Eagles were to get a fourth round pick out of someone for Brown. I just don’t see that happening for a player where a sizable percentage of his stats came over a two game span in 2012.
Verdict on value: 2014 fifth round pick