If we take the Philadelphia Eagles at their word and buy the idea that DeSean Jackson was released purely for football reasons, it would make no sense for the team to trade for wide receiver Andre Johnson.
On Tuesday, Grantland's Riley McAtee suggested that, if the Texans were to cave and trade the seven-time Pro Bowler, Philadelphia is one of four destinations that make the most sense:
Like the Browns, the Eagles are going into this season one star wide receiver short. They released DeSean Jackson even though he is coming off the best year of his career.
Also like the Browns, Philly has more than enough cap space to accommodate Johnson without restructuring his contract, something he has done in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
This union makes sense. The Eagles would get a tall wide receiver who is an excellent route runner — the perfect complement to Jeremy Maclin, who is a prototypical burner. That’s not to say that Johnson isn’t fast, too — he is. He’s good at everything, really. And with the Eagles, he would get a chance to join a team that is already a contender in a weak division.
However, the Eagles cut Jackson partly because they have faith in Maclin and Riley Cooper. Then they went out and used two second-day draft picks on Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff, both of whom are expected to play significant roles.
Matthews has already been tearing it up on the practice field.
Why mess with that?
Johnson might not pose the same risk that Jackson did when it comes to off-the-field issues, but it's not exactly a good sign that he has sulked while skipping organized team activities throughout the offseason. At the age of 33, his best days are probably behind him, and let's not overlook that $10 million salary.
Sure, as McAtee points out, the Eagles have the cash. In fact, Over the Cap indicates they sit fifth in the league in cap space.
Nevertheless, this is a team that is already paying Maclin and Cooper a combined $7 million this year, and don't forget that Jackson is still costing them $6.25 million against the cap.
It would be silly to tie up any more cash in the receiving corps, and it would send a bad message regarding the direction of the front office. Releasing Jackson was bold, but the Eagles are going all in on younger guys without track records. Now is not the time to flinch.
Contract information courtesy of Spotrac.
Brad Gagnon has covered the NFC East for Bleacher Report since 2012.