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The NFL Deadline Deal That We Know Won’t Happen

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Traditions are important...and at Hogs Haven there is a tradition of this writer suggesting the Redskins deal DeSean Jackson before the deadline.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

I warned EVERYONE this article was coming, but to be honest, my heart is only half in it. I’ll start off my annual “Trade DeSean Jackson” article by acknowledging that the Redskins almost definitely won’t even consider such a thing.

There are few players in the league with the skill set of DeSean Jackson. What he is capable of doing at an incredible top speed is mind-boggling. He tracks the ball like a center fielder and is able to use his body at the point of the catch like an Olympic gymnast. DJax is a mismatch for the overwhelming majority of defensive backs in the league, and he can keep defensive coordinators up at night—not because they are scheming to stop him, but because they know there is little you can do to prevent him from making a play if he wants to make a play. His value is both known and tangible. In short, he is not the kind of player teams trade away...ever.

This kind of thinking logically leads many of you to wonder why even bother wasting the pixels on a post like this, and I don’t necessarily disagree with said logic. I do, however, love trading deadlines. The idea that I won’t be allowed to do something after a certain date makes me kind of want to try and do it before that date...really badly. And let’s remember, for those of us that are avid fans of the other three major sports in this country, trade deadline deals stir the Kool-Aid every year and oftentimes lay the foundation for teams on either side of the deal to vastly improve themselves. Any legitimate opportunity that could ever present itself to better your team’s chances now and into the future should be considered.

More than just lusting after the idea of making a trade, I do see the potential for a deal that could help multiple teams. We know that in order to credibly seek a trading partner, you have to be willing to part with something of value. I think from the Redskins side of the coin, DJax represents significant value, and is certainly capable of returning value to our franchise. That said...

The fourth year of DeSean’s contract automatically voids, but its existence allowed the Redskins to manage the salary cap hit of his deal in the first three years. You can—and should—argue that teams won’t be keen to add a guy who will be looking for a big payday in a few months. In fact, Jackson’s expiring contract drives down the value the Redskins could expect to get for him in a major way. Unlike in the NBA, where sign-and-trade deals are commonplace, the NFL doesn’t see too many of these kinds of arrangements. That doesn’t mean it is impossible to pull off, however (if not impossible, extremely unlikely...hahaha). I won’t go down the rabbit-hole of unlikely sign-and-trade scenarios, but just know it wouldn’t be the most far-fetched thing to happen in the NFL this year.

So he is valuable but not valuable? Hmmm...

The real question comes down to why you would consider such a move. Let’s start with the fact that just about halfway through the season, the Redskins don’t seem to be utilizing Jackson very much. That could always change, and he could still be the reason why we win games in the future, but just basing things off of today’s reality, this offense is not living and dying on the deep ball. (I understand that his mere presence makes defenses wary of the deep ball, but at some point, that wariness will disappear if we aren’t taking enough shots.) Further, DJax is the kind of player that—for better or worse—needs touches to stay mentally engaged in games. I spoke to two former players that told me Jackson looked like he was just going through the motions at the end of the Detroit game (a correctable issue if we start throwing to him more). If the Redskins can’t get him more involved in the passing game, they could risk losing him just from a mental standpoint. On the side of this discussion below, another thing we should discuss is whether you think Kirk Cousins is being denied DJax by opposing defenses or whether Kirk is simply content to focus primarily on Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis and Chris Thompson.

Let’s talk about Scot “McLovin” McCloughan for a moment. I have based my entire devotion to the Redskins since last year on the idea that McLovin is the guy who is going to right this ship. I like his draft prowess and I believe in his ability to add the necessary talent to our roster to build a winner. Due to this, I would be very interested in finding ways to increase the resources he can use to attack that goal.

I will say that if we think McLovin is inclined to resign Jackson, that changes the calculus here significantly. My gut tells me though that we are going to spend some money in a few other places this offseason before we cut any checks to wide receivers. If that is true, that would certainly cause the Redskins to at least listen to offers for Jackson, if not cause them to shop him a little.

(Notice I don’t suggest anything absurd regarding what we could or should get in return if a trade involving DJax went down. I would hope a second or third round pick would be possible, but it would likely involve some kind of cooperation by DeSean, and I have no idea how likely that is these days.)

I just felt that I would be letting you all down if I didn’t float this idea for a third straight year. I can hear Bill all the way from Bangkok, punching his computer as he reads this, and I can see Chris ‘ih8dallas” Hess dropping his mason jar full of moonshine right onto the porch next to his rocking chair.

No, I don’t see this deal happening either, but someday, the NFL trade deadline will be a far more exciting time of year than it is now.