Eagles' Jackson Seems Too Expensive for 49ers

Former Cal star wide receiver is a great playmaker, but acquiring his high salary could be damaging to 49ers' long-term strength

The 49ers are looking for a fast, game-breaking, deep-threat receiver. The Eagles are looking to trade DeSean Jackson – who fits that mold – for a third-round draft choice.

And, with a wealth of draft picks in their pocket, the Niners can easily part with a third-round pick. So, it seems like a perfect scenario for San Francisco, right?

In fact, Sports Illustrated and other media outlets have reported the 49ers have called the Eagles to inquire about Jackson’s availability.

A report in Philadelphia earlier this week said both the 49ers and Patriots have talked to the Eagles about what it would cost to get Jackson.

The Eagles, it was reported, are not shopping Jackson, but are willing to listen to potential offers -- a roundabout way of saying that yes, they are shopping him. Last year, too, the Eagles reportedly were taking calls about his availability.

But as Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle noted this week, the Niners would be wise to pass on the former University of California standout. As good a player as he is, and as strong as he would make the 49ers’ receiving corps – teaming with Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin – Lynch points out that his addition would come at a steep cost.

Jackson is in the second year of a five-year contract that will pay him  $10.5 million in 2014. That deal would immediately put the 49ers about $6 million over the salary cap and create some tough decisions for the 49ers.

With so many stars to lock up over the next two seasons – including Colin Kaepernick, Aldon Smith and Mike Iupati – taking on a contract such as Jackson’s could put the Niners in a major bind.

Though Jackson is an electric receiver, 49ers fans mostly agreed with Lynch’s reasoning. In a reader poll attached to the story, 70 percent of readers voted “No, he’s more trouble than he’s worth” vs. “Yes, he’s an incredible athlete” to the question “Should the 49ers sign DeSean Jackson?”

Last season, Jackson, 27, had the best numbers of his six-year NFL career, with 82 catches, 1,332 yards and nine TD catches in head coach Chip Kelly’s wide-open, uptempo offense. So there’s no doubt Jackson would make the 49ers much more dangerous offensively.

But with a deep crop of wide receivers in this year’s draft, the 49ers would be better served to find a young, inexpensive wideout – or even two – and let them grow.

For the long term, it seems a more likely path for GM Trent Baalke and the Niners.

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