We first heard the Eagles were ready to move on from DeSean Jacksonon March 18. At the time, many wondered why the Philadelphia Eagles would be willing to give up on him for only a mid-round pick.
It turned out that the Eagles couldn't get anything for him. Philadelphia's release of Jackson Friday was a surprise because of the timing, but perhaps it shouldn't be. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and coach Chip Kelly had four days in Orlando at the NFL Annual Meeting to test the market. Jackson's salary ($10.5 million) and off-field issues made him untradeable.
Follow all the developments on the NFL's open market with our up-to-the-minute tracking of 2014's free agents. **More...**
That doesn't mean he'll be lacking for suitors as a free agent. Jackson is coming off the best season (1,332 yards) of his career and has breathtaking speed. His attitude and off-field connections will be investigated, but he's never had a problem with the law in his career. Plenty of less talented players with bigger concerns have big contracts in the NFL. Talent wins out.
Jackson might not be a classic No. 1 receiver, but he's undoubtedly one of the best deep threats in the league. He'll get a solid deal, even if it doesn't equate to $10.5 million in 2014. Here are some sensible landing spots:
1. Oakland Raiders: At 27, Jackson would be much younger than most of the free agents that general manager Reggie McKenzie has signed this offseason. The Raiders need explosive playmakers and have salary cap room to burn. Jackson went to nearby Cal. Most importantly, Oakland is the team most likely to give the type of contract Jackson will desire.
2. New York Jets: The Jets shouldn't stop with Eric Decker. They were tied closely to Tavon Austin in last year's draft and have been tied to other similar speed merchants in this year's crop. Owner Woody Johnson sounded intrigued about Jackson in Orlando, Fla., at the NFL Annual Meeting, although it doesn't sound like a move that general manager John Idzik would make. Jackson would qualify as an aggressive bid to change their passing game.
3. San Francisco 49ers: They 49ers were tied to Jackson by multiple reports. They inquired with Philadelphia about Jackson in a trade, but there weren't interested at Jackson's price, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.
Now the 49ers don't have to give up anything in a potential trade. They desperately need some speed at wide receiver. Their salary cap situation is a concern, but this is a front office not afraid to make bold moves.
4. Kansas City Chiefs:Salary cap room is the major problem here, but Jackson would fit on the team perfectly. Andy Reid knows Jackson's strengths and weaknesses. Kansas City needs receivers after losing out on the Emmanuel Sanders sweepstakes.
"I have nothing but good things to say about the kid," Reid said this week. "I did draft him. I had a great relationship with him. when his father passed away, that was a hard thing for him to go through at a young age. They were best friends.
"I've experienced life things with him. He was great for me when I was there."
The Around The League team hits all the NFL's hottest topics in its award-winning podcast. Join the conversation. **Listen**
5. New England Patriots: CSN Philly reported that the Patriots inquired about Jackson. Then again, as Rapoport points out, the Patriots inquire about everyone. They are a "due diligence" type of team.
The Patriots aren't afraid to take big swings, but the reports of Jackson's off-field associates should scare them away. It's also a crowded position in New England with Danny Amendola still around.
6 & 7. San Diego Chargers and Seattle Seahawks: We're throwing these long shots into the mix because Jackson would fit both offenses well. The Chargers are one wide receiver away from an extremely dangerous offense. The Seahawks, tied loosely to Jackson in one national report, crave big plays and have a surprising amount of cap room. Perhaps Jackson would be willing to rehabilitate his value on a winner.
8. Carolina Panthers: We initially hesitated to even mention the Panthers because the Charlotte Observer reported last week that they wouldn't be interested. Their cap issues seem too severe.
Still, coach Ron Riveraindicated on Friday that the Panthers would have some interest. His vertical speed would fit well with Cam Newton's big arm.
The latest "Around The League Podcast" offers a full recap of the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando, then proposes player moves that won't happen (but probably should).