The San Diego Chargers did not place the franchise tag on WR Vincent Jackson and the veteran receiver will now become a free agent on March 13th. Two teams are already being reported as having interest in the large pass catcher, the Buffalo Bills and the Chicago Bears. It has been a tumultuous two seasons between Vincent Jackson and the San Diego Chargers. Jackson has desired a long-term deal with the Chargers for two seasons and even sat out the first ten games of the 2009 season over his displeasure with the organization. There is always the chance that Jackson will sign with the Chargers once free agency begins, but he is going to be one of the highest sought after free agents on the market.
According to the Union-Tribune, one team which has expressed interest in Jackson, is the Buffalo Bills. The Bills reached a new five-year $36.25 million dollar deal with receiver Steve Johnson yesterday, avoiding the use of the franchise tag on the receiver. The Bills have the salary cap space to acquire Jackson and the addition of him would bolster the Buffalo Bills offense heading into 2012. Vincent Jackson and Steve Johnson along with running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller in the backfield would be a potent mix for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The other team with a reported interest in Vincent Jackson is the Chicago Bears. ESPN’s John Clayton tweeted last night that he believes the Chicago Bears are going to make a run at Jackson. This makes perfect sense with the Bears being in serious need of a legitimate number one receiver for QB Jay Cutler.
WR Johnny Knox is rehabbing from back/neck surgery and should be ready to go at the start of training camp. WR Devin Hester is a speedy receiver, but the Bears have an immediate need for a big receiver on their offense.
The St. Louis Rams could emerge as a possible destination as well for Jackson. The Jacksonville Jaguars are in need of a receiver, but given the quarterback situation in Jacksonville, Jackson might decide to go elsewhere even if the club offers up a huge contract.
The Washington Post reports this morning that the Washington Redskins are planning on going hard after a high profile wide receiver, and Vincent Jackson definitely fills that bill. As with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jackson might want to see what happens with the quarterback position in Washington before signing.