ORLANDO, Fla. - Jets owner Woody Johnson acknowledged that the team has interest in Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, although it is more likely the Jets would acquire the 27-year-old wide receiver only if he is released by Philadelphia, not via a trade.
"We're looking at a number of players, including DeSean,'' Johnson said Sunday at the annual NFL spring owners' meetings. "He's a very good player. We're looking at a number of them. 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.''
There has been speculation that if the Eagles can't trade Jackson, they will release him, making him a free agent. When asked about that possibility, Johnson sounded more amenable to signing him.
"We're always interested in talent,'' Johnson said. "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, that we feel is appropriate, then we'd do it.''
Owners, coaches and executives are prohibited from publicly discussing other teams' players, so Johnson's direct acknowledgment of interest in Jackson could be perceived as tampering. However, teams rarely pursue tampering charges, so it's uncertain whether Johnson's stated interest in Jackson will land him in hot water with the league office.
Jackson is coming off his best season, with 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns.