A look at potential Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson trades for Eagles

75756A5E-120A-4932-810C-2FD980DB785E

The issue is not, for the most part, DeSean Jackson or Alshon Jeffery.

Both could likely still contribute when healthy. Both are working to get healthy. Neither has been an issue this season, and by all accounts, both have been great teammates.

The issue is that the Eagles are not really a win-now team, despite the NFC East trying to make them one. They are a rebuilding team. And with each week, as another young receiver makes a big play or improves, the reality is that putting two 30-plus year old receivers back on the field makes almost zero sense for the Eagles. Especially when neither Jackson or Jeffery will likely be back in 2021, and at this point, getting Carson Wentz snaps with the young receivers who will be back is far more important.

Which is why it might be better off for both sides if they parted ways prior to the NFL Trade Deadline. Jackson and Jeffery can go to a winning team and get plenty of snaps. The Eagles can continue to play their young receivers.

The trade deadline is now just two weeks away, on Oct. 29. That is prior to the Eagles’ Week 8 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, and just after their Thursday night game against the Giants.

Financially, trading Jeffery or Jackson would help the Eagles, who have $16 million in cap space and need to save every penny they can for 2021. Unlike this past offseason, the money any team acquiring Jackson or Jeffery is going down with each week — and by Oct. 29th, it will be a pretty reasonable rate.

In the NFL, when a team trades for a player, they essentially just acquire their base salary, not the signing bonus which often takes up a big portion of the cap hit. A player’s base salary is paid out over 17 checks during the season. Any team that acquired a player during the season would be on the hook for whatever remaining salary is left. For example, if a team were to trade for a player that makes $17 million in base salary, but trade for him in Week 7, their cap would get hit with 11 game checks — or $11 million in salary.

As of now, the Eagles have paid Jackson and Jeffery five base-salary checks each. If they were to trade either this week, which is unlikely, the new team would owe either Jackson or Jeffery 12 more checks, and that would go onto the new team’s books for the 2020 salary cap.

Here is how the money would breakdown if the Eagles were to trade either Jackson or Jeffery prior to this Sunday’s game, using cap figures from Over The Cap.

DeSean Jackson
Cap hit for new team/base salary remaining: $4.3 million
Money Saved for Eagles: $4.3 million
Dead Money: $1.93 million

Alshon Jeffery
Cap hit for new team/base salary remaining: $6.9 million
Money Saved for Eagles: $6.9 million
Dead Money: $5.4 million

If the Eagles were to trade either Jackson or Jeffery the day of the deadline, they would have cut seven checks to each of them — or 7/17ths of their base salary. Their new team would owe Jackson or Jeffery the remaining 10 base-salary checks.

Here is how the money would breakdown at the deadline:

DeSean Jackson
Cap hit for new team/base salary remaining: $3.6 million
Money Saved: $3.6 million
Dead Money: $1.93 million

Alshon Jeffery
Cap hit for new team/base salary remaining: $5.8 million
Money Saved: $5.8 million
Dead Money: $5.4 million

Obviously, each player has health concerns, which is going to impact any trade value they might have. The Eagles almost certainly won’t be getting much back for either player — likely just a late-round pick or a bottom-of-the-roster player. What they would be getting, however, is both off the roster and the needed luxury of being able to play the young receivers without worrying about the veterans being on the bench.

At base salaries (at the trade deadline) of just $3.6 million for Jackson and $5.8 million for Jeffery, however, it isn’t impossible a team could decide taking a risk on the upside of either player staying healthy could be worth the low-cap hits it would take.

Who might those teams be? Any team interested in trading for either player would need three things — a chance to win this season, a need at receiver and cap space both this year and next year.

Five teams that might fit the criteria are the Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. All are win-now teams. All have the cap space to acquire Jackson or Jeffery. All could use help at receiver.

The chances of the Eagles finding a trade partner for either, even if ask for basically nothing in return, seems slim.

But as the trade deadline creeps closer, the money owed to both decreases and the young receivers on the Eagles continue to improve, a trade will only make more-and-more sense for both sides.

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!