DeSean Jackson played at Cal, has been one of the NFL’s most dangerous deep threats over the past six seasons and is reportedly on the trade block.
But the 49ers don’t appear to have much interest in him.
“He’s under contract with the Philadelphia Eagles,” general manager Trent Baalke said Tuesday “ As of this moment, there’s been no discussion between us and the Philadelphia Eagles whatsoever.”
One of the issues is Jackson’s contract. Any team that acquires him will inherit his $10.5 million salary cap figure. The 49ers are about $4 million beneath the salary cap and adding Jackson also would make him their highest-paid player.
The 49ers likely would be reluctant to give an outsider that honor.
“Never say never, but history usually repeats itself, right?” Baalke said. “So historically, the answer to that would be no. But we always reserve the right to do what’s in the best interest of the 49ers.”
Baalke said the question of how Jackson or any newcomer would affect the chemistry of the 49ers’ locker room – from a salary and personalty standpoint – would be paramount.
“There’s a lot of thought that goes into every decision,” he said. “One key thing we focus on is, ‘What is this decision going to do to our locker room?’ That’s a big part of the decision-making process. We spend a lot of time looking at that, talking through it, thinking about it and making sure that the move we make isn’t counterproductive to winning. Because that’s the ultimate goal – to win.”
The sides sat down for the first time last month at the scouting combine. Baalke said “generalities” were discussed then and in conversations since, but there will be more face-to-face meetings in the coming months.
“Now we’re ready to present a formal proposal,” he said.
Kaepernick is entering the final year of his original contract that will pay him just more than $1 million this season. The going rate for franchise quarterbacks is far greater – $18 million a year, established by recent deals for Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears and Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys.
The 49ers’ challenge will be to make Kaepernick happy while still fielding a competitive team in the future.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, whose team completed a big-money deal with quarterback Joe Flacco last year, conceded it’s not an easy balance.
“It boils down to math,” John Harbaugh said. “Because that’s a big chunk out of your bookkeeping. And it’s really going to hit us this year and next year and going forward. ... So we’ve got to make tough decisions like (linebacker) Jameel McClain (signed by the New York Giants), and you’ve got to determine where you’re going to spend your money.”
If no deal is struck this summer, the 49ers could retain Kaepernick for 2015 by giving him the franchise tag. The 49ers gave safety Dashon Goldson the franchise tag in 2012, but they’ve generally avoided using it.
“I’ve said this before: The franchise tag is a tool we can use. It’s not something we like to do,” Baalke said. “ ... We’re going to use all resources to keep our football team together. Will we use it in this scenario? It’s really too early to go into that type of discussion.”
Rogers was released this month and is not expected to return. Eric Wright also has played the nickel, and Tramaine Brock or Chris Culliver – the expected starters at cornerback – could slide inside to the nickel spot on passing downs.
In addition, the 49ers have six picks in the first three rounds of the May draft, and they are expected to use at least one on a cornerback.