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NFC East: Trading For DeSean Jackson Makes No Sense


Twitter gave me about four minutes to digest the news that Henry Melton had signed with the Cowboys before two things caught my eye.

First came a handful of tweets asking if the Cowboys might go after "Jackson." Having been immersed in free agent news for two weeks, I struggled to think of who "Jackson" might be – it didn't sound like the name of any big free agent.

Then I saw that the Eagles are reportedly willing to trade DeSean Jackson away to the right suitor, provided the price is right. Of course, photos and stories accompanying the news came with the suggestion that the franchise receiver could wind up in Dallas.

Nope, nope, nope. Please stop with the tweets and emails. It seems pretty unlikely the Eagles would part ways with their No. 1 receiver, who is set to make about $10 million this season, to begin with. But even if they do, he's definitely not going to wind up with the Cowboys.

Why not? Well, let me count the ways. Firstly, the dude is too expensive. He's two years into a contract that's going to pay him $48 million – his cap hit is $12 million or more for the next three seasons. The Cowboys legitimately can't afford that in 2014, and even if they could in coming seasons when the salary cap goes up, why bother?


The Cowboys are already going to have to big No. 1 receiver money to Dez Bryant, unless they want him to walk. So are they paying No. 1 money to both Bryant and Jackson? There's no denying Jackson's play-making ability, but you could argue he doesn't have the dominant skillset of a true No. 1 receiver – guys like Dez, Calvin Johnson or Demaryius Thomas.

The salary cap situation will likely improve as the cap increases, but that's hardly an invitation to add a bevy of new, expensive contracts -- especially considering Jackson's penchant for talking about new deals. He's held out once before, and he's talked enough about the possibility of a new deal to apparently inspire the Eagles to look into trading him.

Terrance Williams might not match Jackson in terms of big-play ability, but he's showed signs of being a quality No. 2 or No. 3 receiver, especially with the presence of Bryant and Jason Witten around him. And you know how much he'll cost the Cowboys in 2014? Roughly $700,000.

If the Cowboys decide they need more firepower in the passing game, there is an insanely deep wide receiver class in this year's draft – as we've discussed often. Even if they decided to spend a first-round draft pick on a receiver, his contract would be worth a fraction of what will be owed to Jackson in coming seasons.

It's also worth pointing out Jackson's inconsistency. He was excellent in his first season under Chip Kelly, going for 1,332 yards, nine touchdowns and a Pro Bowl selection. But that was also his first 1,000-yard season since 2010. He has also yet to post a 10-touchdown campaign in his six-year career.

None of these even addresses the fact that Philadelphia would likely be unwilling to deal their best receiver to a division rival – not when the difference between the two was so negligible in the division race just a few months ago.

So, no, I don't see it. When you factor in the abilities of Bryant, the potential of Williams, and the possibility of adding young, cheap production, it just doesn't make sense -- too high of a cost for too little of a difference.

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