Red Zone

The Chiefs and NFL by beat writers Randy Covitz and Terez Paylor

Chiefs likely won’t pursue DeSean Jackson unless he’s released

03/22/2014 5:02 PM

03/25/2014 11:59 AM

Don't expect the Chiefs to pursue DeSean Jackson unless he's released.

According

to multiple reports on Saturday, the Eagles will likely part ways

with the exciting-but-flamboyant wideout, who caught 82 passes for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns last season.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid knows what Jackson can do ― he drafted him in 2009, back when he was in charge of the Eagles ― and Jackson's vertical speed and knowledge of Reid's offense would seem to make him an optimal fit in Kansas City.

A trade with the Chiefs, however, seems unlikely. There's the matter of compensation, first off; Philly is reportedly commanding a third-round pick, and the Chiefs are already short on picks this year due to the Alex Smith trade.

But more importantly, the Chiefs don't have a ton of cap space ― only $4.8 million, according to NFL Players Association records ― and Jackson has a 2014 cap number of $12.5 million. The Chiefs could conceivably make the money work by cutting some players or restructuring some deals (which is always easier said than done, by the way), but it's likely Jackson, 27, would also have to be open to restructuring his current deal, which is set to pay him about $30 million over the next three years.

Even this is problematic, however. While Jackson indeed wants a new contract ― although he just signed one two years ago ― why would he restructure and help the Eagles work a trade out with one team when he stands to earn more money on the open market if the Eagles release him, as they apparently

seem willing to do

?

Now, a couple things here. If I were the Chiefs, would it worry me if the Eagles dumped a legitimate playmaker coming off a big season? You bet. Something doesn't add up there, and there have always been questions about Jackson's character. But if the Chiefs do make a run at him, my concerns would be eased because that means Reid likely vouched for the guy. He drafted him and coached him for four years, so he knows what Jackson is and who he is. It's my impression the Chiefs aren't terribly fond of troublemakers, so if they don't go after him, that would tell me something, too.

However, on the field, I do believe Jackson would be an incredible fit in Kansas City. He is the perfect complement to Dwayne Bowe and a known commodity, the kind of consistent playmaker that can make Reid's offense sing. And hey, bringing him aboard could also rouse some excitement among a fanbase that watched their favorite team lose seven starters to free agency over the past two weeks.

For the record though, even if the Chiefs make a run at Jackson, it could be tough to lure him to Kansas City. Though the Chiefs could probably give Jackson the money he's seeking by cutting or restructuring a few guys and giving him a long-term deal with a large signing bonus and a low base salary in year one, all but six teams have more space than the Chiefs do right now and could easily execute the same plan. The Jets, Seahawks, Panthers, 49ers, Patriots and Raiders have all been linked to Jackson, and all but the 49ers have more cap room than the Chiefs do.

So for now, at least, I have a hard time believing the Chiefs could or would outbid every other team out there, especially given some of the things I heard about the quality of the offers they made some of their own free agents. But perhaps the Sanders situation will motivate them to go above and beyond for Jackson, provided his ongoing soap opera with Philly comes to an end and he actually does get released.

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