Just when I thought free agency and the new league year were quieting down for the long haul toward the draft, DeSean Jackson makes things interesting. CSN Philly writer Derrick Gunn is reporting the Philadelphia Eagles have taken "inquiries" from the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots about a trade for DeSean Jackson. The source told Gunn the Eagles are seeking "at least" a third round pick for Jackson, if not more.
Well, that certainly spices things up. It's just a rumor so take it with the usual grain of salt, but that would certainly be an interesting one. Any deal involving Jackson to the 49ers would require a restructuring of Jackson's contract, and likely some restructuring of current 49ers contracts (via pay cuts, extensions, converting salary to bonus money, etc). The 49ers currently have $3,726,835 in cap space. DeSean Jackson is scheduled to make $10,500,000 in base salary in 2014, plus another $250,000 in a workout bonus. I wasn't a math major, but that is a little bigger than the 49ers current space. The rest of the contract has Jackson earning $9,750,000 in each of 2015 and 2016, along with the same $250,000 workout bonus.
I would not be surprised if the 49ers did in fact call the Philadelphia Eagles to inquire about DeSean Jackson. When a game-breaking talent like that is on the market, you don't just ignore it. You don't have to make a trade for him, but you at least have to call and see what it's going to cost you. It's just basic due diligence.
Do I think the 49ers will trade for DeSean Jackson? No. But that doesn't mean it isn't entertaining to at least consider the possibility. If the 49ers properly used him, a wide receiver corps of Jackson, Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, along with Vernon Davis at tight end, is absolutely filthy. The 49ers have been a run first team, but they have the kind of quarterback that can do some amazing things with that group of pass catchers.
While this deal would boost the 49ers to the front of the line for 2014, it likely requires taking some roster hits in 2015 and beyond. There's no way they bring in DeSean Jackson and keep all the 2010 and 2011 picks up for contract extensions. It would require a give and take to make this work, especially in light of the likely need to get Jackson a long-term deal.
And that's the other thing. It's not Baalke's MO to bring in high priced talent from outside, particularly when you're likely going to have to shell out to keep him around even longer. Baalke will turn over every rock to consider his options, but that doesn't mean he actually picks up what is under every rock.