MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 11: Receiver DeSean Jaskson #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Earlier this month, it was reported the Philadelphia Eagles were pursuing trade options for wide receiver DeSean Jackson, and that they would release him if they couldn’t find a deal that worked for them. On Friday, they followed through with the latter part of that statement, releasing Jackson and prompting an outpouring of reaction from all over the internet.
Amid reports of Jackson’s alleged affiliation with gang members and myriad other reasons for his departure from the City of Brotherly Love, there is the obvious question that needs to be asked amid all of the turmoil: where would be a good spot for Jackson to land when he signs with a new team?
There are several clubs that Jackson could feasibly sign with, if they only had the salary cap space to do so. The Detroit Lions head that list, as they look for an athletic wide receiver to pair with Calvin Johnson, but with less than $2 million in salary cap space, they don’t seem to be an ideal landing spot for the receiver. Teams like the San Diego Chargers and Carolina Panthers could also be in the mix, but there’s no clear frontrunner as the derby to land the free agent receiver kicks off.
Some fans have even wondered whether or not the Chicago Bears would be willing to make a run at Jackson. After all, they could definitely use a guy who uses his speed to stretch the field (not to mention take coverage pressure off of guys like Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall), but also could use a guy with a good amount of experience returning kicks. Jackson is one of the best in the business when it comes to the return game, and that versatility should result in a nice payday for him.
Unfortunately for the Bears, the possibility of acquiring another difference maker on offense is a remote one. They already have used several bullets in their cap-space gun, restructuring Jay Cutler’s contract and releasing players like Julius Peppers and Earl Bennett. Add to that the contract that they just gave to DE Jared Allen, and you’re looking at the same type of cap crunch that other teams like the Lions and Dallas Cowboys are facing.
While Jackson would be a great fit for the Bears as a versatile wide receiver and returner, it seems highly unlikely that the team would be willing to go through the salary cap gymnastics required to sign him. Some fans may be lax to sign Jackson because of his alleged involvement with gangs, but even without that off-the-field issue as a very serious backdrop, the financial implications of bringing him to the Windy City simply make it a pipe dream rather than a real possibility.