2012 NFL Free Agency | Top 5 Potential Suitors For Vincent Jackson
Current San Diego Chargers and soon-to-be free agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson will undoubtedly be one of the hottest names on the market when free agency beings on March 13th.
According to Jason La Canfora of NFL.com, he doesn’t, “see any way he’s back there. The Chargers won’t franchise him, they’ve come out and said that.” Indeed they have, as well as saying that the current deal Jackson wants, a five-year, $50 million contract, is too much for them. The only way Jackson is going to remain with the Chargers is if the two sides are able to negotiate a cheaper long-term deal.
La Canfora offered an opinion on a few teams “with salary cap room like the Rams, 49ers and Buccaneers” that could be interested in signing Jackson. But there’s definitely going to be a few other teams as well that would be interested in the talent and skill set he possesses.
Here are the top five teams that could (or should) sign Jackson if/when he becomes a free agent:
5. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have a pretty solid defense and a beast for a running back in Marshawn Lynch. What they’re missing, which keeps them from being a Super Bowl contender, is a quarterback and a No. 1 threat at receiver. And Jackson would be the solution to half of that problem (no, not Tarvaris). If the Seahawks could land a free agent like Matt Flynn or draft a quarterback, they’d definitely put up a fight for the division crown that the San Francisco 49ers are currently wearing.
4. New England Patriots
Although they made it to the Super Bowl, they did lose, and the dropped passes by the Patriots receivers was a factor in that loss. This team has some receiver problems as well. For starters, Deion Branch may not be back and Julian Edelman isn’t considered a legitimate receiver. Unlike Chad Ochocinco, Jackson would not be a bust, and him, alongside Wes Welker if he is re-signed before free agency begins, could give quarterback Tom Brady flashbacks to 2007. Think about it: Welker covering the slot and Jackson stretching the defense vertically. But this time there’d also be the two-headed monster at tight end with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, and the four of them with Brady could once again be an unstoppable offensive juggernaut.
3. St. Louis Rams
With a young, franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford, and long-time Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher, the Rams could once again bring back “the greatest show on turf” with the signing of Jackson, in addition to the re-signing of receiver Brandon Lloyd, who will also be a free agent. Talks of drafting Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon would be a smart move for the franchise as well. The Rams currently don’t have much of a receiving corps, so with two, or three, of these receivers, they could have a viable passing attack while also taking the workload off of running back Steven Jackson.
2. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins, with the recent hiring of former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin as head coach, seem to be in the front-running for either Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn to become their new starting quarterback. To get Jackson to line up opposite of receiver Brandon Marshall, would open the floodgates for the Dolphins offense, especially with Manning, and using running back Reggie Bush as a versatile weapon.
1. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers learned the hard way in the NFC Championship Game that having a solid No. 1 receiver is key, especially when tight end Vernon Davis is double-teamed most of the game. Current receivers Ted Ginn Jr. and Michael Crabtree are average at best, so the addition of Jackson, with Davis, could cause some serious mismatches for opposing defenses. And if Manning goes to the 49ers, who have reportedly said they’d pursue him if available, this team would likely be the most complete team in the NFL, and would probably be the favorites to win the Super Bowl.