California Golden Bears

DeSean Jackson, and why NFL teams trade players


We should’ve known the 49ers would never trade for DeSean Jackson, even before considering his absurdly high salary. The very existence of trade rumors should’ve alerted us. Let’s take a look at some recent trades that brought players to San Francisco.

  • Sixth round pick to the Ravens for Anquan Boldin
  • A.J. Jenkins to the Chiefs for Jonathan Baldwin
  • Sixth round pick to the Jaguars for Blaine Gabbert
  • Conditional seventh round pick to the Dolphins for Jonathan Martin

The Boldin trade floored everyone and brought accusations of brotherly nepotism. Jim Harbaugh gave Jenkins the good ol’ vote of confidence less than a week before he was shipped to Kansas City for another disappointing first round receiver. The Gabbert trade came out of nowhere. There were plenty of people (myself included) who thought Martin could be a fit with the 49ers, but there were no reports that a trade was imminent before it was consummated.

Jackson sounds like a perfect fit on the field for the 49ers, as he would plug two holes — he’s a downfield receiving threat and he’s known as one of the most dynamic punt returners in the league (even though he only averaged 5.1 yards per return last season and hasn’t taken one to the house since 2010).

But Jackson is available for a reason. Two, in fact.

Why NFL players get traded

1. The player isn’t any good, or at least hasn’t shown any signs of being any good over the first two or three years of his career.

2. The player is really expensive.

3. The player is a pain in the ass to deal with.

Each of the players the 49ers acquired in the last two seasons via trade were available for at least one of the reasons listed above. I’ll let you figure out which reason(s) goes/go with each player.

Jackson is the opposite of No. 1. He’s really good. That’s why he’s still with the Eagles, even though by all accounts he’s an incredible pain in the ass. That, along with his eight-figure salary, is why the 49ers would never consider adding him unless he took a cut in pay and Philadelphia accepted Baldwin and LaMichael James in return. And even then, probably not.

This of course goes back to the problem 49ers fans have dealt with for the last decade: THE CAL GUY WHO GOT AWAY.

  • 49ers drafted Alex Smith when they could’ve taken Aaron Rodgers.
  • 49ers drafted Kentwan Balmer and Chilo Rachal before the Eagles swiped DeSean Jackson.
  • 49ers drafted Tank Carradine and Vance McDonald before the Chargers got Keenan Allen.

Instead of pining for Cal guys, or trying to trade for Cal guys after they got paid, maybe the best course of action would be to draft the guys who played well for Cal instead of looking for reasons why they’d fail.

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