THE BIGGEST indicator that the Eagles are willing to trade DeSean Jackson remains the fact that the team hasn't responded to reports, or talked to Jackson about 2 weeks-plus of trade speculation, even after reading and hearing that Jackson is bothered by what he's hearing.
For a while there yesterday, it seemed this all might go away. On 94WIP, former Eagle Ike Reese said he had been told that Eagles coach Chip Kelly had called Jackson and told the team's top receiver not to listen to the media speculation. A source close to Jackson contacted by the Daily News was asked if this was true, and the source said it was indeed the case, though the source said he didn't know when the conversation might have taken place.
But an Eagletarian blog post containing this information drew a response from someone else, in a more authoritative position in the Jackson camp. This person, who did not wish to be identified, said Jackson has not talked to Kelly. The source said Jackson has tried to reach the coach, but Kelly has been too busy with free agency to get back to him. (Kelly attended Virginia Tech's pro day yesterday, Florida State's the day before.)
It would have made the whole thing much less confusing if one could have just gotten an answer from the Eagles - "Hey, has Chip talked to DeSean about all this trade speculation? Ike Reese says he has." But the Eagles continued their no-comment policy.
Kelly was asked about Jackson last Friday, at his lone offseason encounter with reporters. He deflected the question with a quip targeting the reporter who asked the question, and an Eagles spokesman then cut off the session.
Jackson has not spoken. Though there are plenty of people willing to speak for him, it's sometimes hard to assess who really knows what.
It very could well be that even if the Eagles have decided to listen to offers for Jackson, they won't be able to make a suitable trade. Jackson has a $12.5 million cap figure this season. Everybody in the NFL remembers how he acknowledged he didn't play his hardest in 2011, when he was unhappy with his contract; that sort of thing follows you. The deep draft at wide receiver might help the Eagles replace Jackson, but it also waters down his market value; why not just draft a guy instead of trading for one who's going to make a whole lot of money, and who has 93 games (including playoffs) on his odometer already?
It might be telling that though word about the Eagles apparently being receptive to a trade has been out there a while now, you haven't heard anything coming from other cities about their teams wanting to acquire him. Several reports indicate the 49ers - who supposedly contacted the Eagles, according to Comcast SportsNet's Derrick Gunn - have no interest.
The Jackson controversy certainly will make the NFL meetings next week in Orlando, Fla., more interesting. It will be much harder for the Eagles to avoid comment, since team chairman Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman are expected to speak to reporters, and Kelly must appear at the NFC coaches' media breakfast next Wednesday.
Quarterback Michael Vick will visit tomorrow with the New York Jets, according to several reports. Since before free agency began, the Jets have seemed the most likely landing spot for Vick. Their quarterback situation is cloudy - Geno Smith will get first crack at starting, but he's hardly established - and the offensive coordinator is Marty Mornhinweg, formerly of the Andy Reid Eagles. Presumably, the transition to the Jets' offense would be easy.
Vick sat on the market last week while several lesser QBs signed. One factor might have been his determination to start. A source close to Vick said yesterday that while Vick indeed still wants to start, that is only one of the considerations he will take into account in choosing a new home. You might read that as a softening of the "starter" requirement.
The source indicated Vick has not closed the door on returning to the Eagles to back up Nick Foles.