Turns out it took Howie Roseman about a month to get buyer’s remorse over reworking Alshon Jeffery’s contract last year.
According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Eagles general manager started shopping the veteran receiver about four weeks after signing off on guaranteeing Jeffery’s salary for the 2020 season.
From a circumstantial standpoint that was the crux of everything that followed: the declining production, the injuries, and most notably Jeffery being perceived as the leak talking out of school to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
That anonymous dissertation included negative critiques on Roseman for not pressing harder to acquire All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey and quarterback Carson Wentz, ironically the player that got Jeffery to choose Philadelphia over Minnesota in the first place when he signed in free agency before the 2017 season.
A separate NFL source told SI.com that Roseman’s quick shift came from a personnel evaluation of Jeffery as a declining player and the desire to strike quickly before that became evident to the rest of the league.
Needless to say, no trade was accomplished as the issues mounted and Jeffery’s season ultimately ended prematurely to a Lisfranc injury, further complicating the desire to move on this offseason and forcing Roseman into a game of chicken with potential partners that may not even exist.
"Obviously, the elephant in the room is Alshon," Roseman acknowledged on a conference call last month. "Alshon’s gotta get healthy. That’s the No. 1 priority for us and for him. He understands. He knows what’s being said about him. He understands that he has a lot to prove and he’s anxious to do that. So he’s not living in a bubble. He understands that."
Bubble or not, trading Jeffery is still the goal for the Eagles, who would have decided a young, playmaking wideout who can grow with Wentz from Day One is the preferable path moving forward.
Releasing Jeffery was a virtual non-starter before the new collective bargaining agreement was reached earlier this year, a move that would have resulted in a dead-money hit of over $26 million accelerated to the 2020 salary cap. The new agreement puts the June 1 designation back in play where about $10M of that could be deferred to 2021.
Further complicating matters is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shut down business as usual for the NFL and if there was an interested team believing Jeffery could regain his prior form that team would have a very difficult time with something as simple as a medical check.
John McMullen covers the Eagles for SI.com. You can listen to John every day at 4 ET on ESPN 97.3 in South Jersey and reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen