Now that Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin have been signed to brand new contracts, the Philadelphia Eagles have more annual salary tied up in their wide receivers than any other team in football except the Miami Dolphins.
Cooper, Maclin and DeSean Jackson are among the 31 highest-paid receivers in the game. No other team in football has three players in the top 35.
That has some wondering if the Eagles have devoted so much attention to Jackson's proverbial sidekicks that they might actually be planning for a premature ending to the Jackson era.
Take this perspective from Philly.com's Jimmy Kempski:
There's an opinion among some in the Eagles organization that Jackson's personality is not a great fit with the locker room culture that Chip Kelly is trying to cultivate, and the Eagles could be open to trading him.
The Eagles' actions over the last few days back that sentiment.
Kempski also points out that Eagles general manager Howie Roseman told the media at last month's combine that investing too heavily in one position could be dangerous.
"We’re trying to figure out the whole dynamic of it," said Roseman, per Kempski. "You can only put a limited amount of resources at a particular position before it starts taking out from other places."
Considering Maclin says the Eagles actually wanted to sign him to a five-year deal—according to NJ.com's Eliot Shorr-Parks—and that Cooper is also under contract for half a decade to come, it's not completely far-fetched to imagine that the Eagles are planning for life without their No. 1 wide receiver.
Two years ago, when Jackson and the team were embroiled in a contract dispute, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Eagles were "open to listening to trade offers" for him. If that was the case then, when their receiving corps was less steady than it is today, it's completely possible Jackson could be available for the right price now.
That has nothing to do with what has gone down on the field. At the age of 27, Jackson is probably only entering his prime. He set career highs with 82 catches and 1,332 yards and tied a career high with nine touchdowns in 2013, earning his third Pro Bowl berth.
Cooper and Maclin have never hit the 1,000-yard mark and have never made a Pro Bowl.
Jackson, who only two years ago signed a five-year, $48.2 million deal with $15 million guaranteed, was already beginning to lobby for a raise earlier this offseason.
I definitely feel it’s something deserving. We’ll see how that plays out, and hopefully we can work things out smoothly and not have to worry about anything out of the ordinary.
But I definitely feel like it’s deserving. I’m proven in this league, and after this past year, went out there, no distractions, and just really put it all in for my team and went out there and had a lot of success, so we’ll see how it goes.
|NFL's highest-paid receivers: 2014 base salary|
|1. Mike Wallace||Dolphins||$15.0M|
|2. Percy Harvin||Seahawks||$11.0M|
|3. DeSean Jackson||Eagles||$10.5M|
|4. Vincent Jackson||Buccaneers||$10.0M|
|4. Andre Johnson||Texans||$10.0M|
At the very least, the Eagles are making it easier to swallow the loss of Jackson in case he starts becoming a distraction over contractual gripes. If a trade opportunity is presented to them down the line, they can now consider pulling the trigger with Maclin and Cooper providing some insurance.
I don't think that will happen, simply because Jackson is too valuable to Chip Kelly's up-tempo, speed-oriented offense and can stretch the field like few other players in this league, but Roseman is covering his bases.
Plus, you know what they say about buying low and selling high.
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