ORLANDO, Fla. — Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson is among several players the New York Jets have interest in.
Speaking at the NFL meetings Sunday, Jets owner Woody Johnson said “we’re looking at a number of players, including DeSean.” The receiver could be made available by Philadelphia because he has a $10.25 million contract for the 2014 season, a stiff price the Eagles might not be willing to pay. Jackson is signed through 2016.
New York desperately needs an impact deep receiver after releasing the disappointing Santonio Holmes. The Jets signed Eric Decker away from Denver, but Jackson is more of a field-stretching target and can return punts.
Jackson, 27, led the Eagles last season with 82 receptions for 1,332 yards and had nine touchdowns.
“He’s a very good player. We’re looking at a number of them,” Johnson added. “Trade’s not our primary operating motif right now. We’re trying to build through the draft. Building through the draft is something that is the way to build a successful team long term.
“We’re always interested in talent. If it’s somebody that fits into our locker room and understands that he can fit into our culture at a price we can afford.”
Michael Vick is part of that locker room now, and Johnson said he spoke with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie before signing the quarterback as a free agent.
“We always do our research, try to cover all our bases. We knew Goodell had a relationship (with Vick),” Johnson said.
Goodell, of course, suspended Vick indefinitely in 2007 for Vick’s role in a dog-fighting ring. Vick subsequently served 18 months in a federal prison, but has become a model citizen and team leader since returning to the NFL in 2009 and become Philadelphia’s starter in 2010.
“We didn’t talk about evaluating Michael Vick in terms of his throwing motion, but just in terms of the person, and he was very, very supportive.” Johnson said.
Vick was signed ostensibly to be second-year quarterback Geno Smith’s backup. Johnson insisted there is no lack of confidence in Smith within the organization, and that the addition of Vick makes plenty of sense after the Jets were left without an experienced second-string QB last season. Smith got the job in training camp after incumbent Mark Sanchez was hurt and lost for the season in a preseason game.
“We always try to bring in a veteran, particularly for a young guy,” Johnson said. “You want a veteran, a guy who’s been there. (Vick) has been around football. He can ... give a lot of insight to the younger player in terms of what it’s like to play in the NFL and what it’s like to play quarterback, the hardest position. I think that’s invaluable.”