The franchise tag deadline has come and gone, and many of the top options at wide receiver are off the board. The Kansas City Chiefs applied the tag to Dwayne Bowe. The Philadelphia Eagles tagged DeSean Jackson. The New England Patriots tagged Wes Welker. In lieu of tagging Steve Johnson, the Buffalo Bills signed him to a five-year contract extension. Who does this leave on the market?
Marques Colston, Brandon Lloyd, Reggie Wayne and Mario Manningham are some of the more popular names left on the list of 2012 free agents, but one of the more interesting is Vincent Jackson, formerly of the San Diego Chargers.
Jackson definitely has his share of upside. He caught 60 balls in 2011, and 54 of them (90 percent) resulted in a first down. He racked up 1,106 yards on those 60 catches for an impressive 18.4 yard-per-catch average. "VJax" scored nine touchdowns and is what you'd consider to be a big-play receiver.
However, there is downside to Jackson as well. Of the 16 games he played in 2011, he had 50 or fewer receiving yards in half of them. He was held under 35 yards in six of the 16. Jackson only caught more than three passes in six of those 16 games, and three of his nine touchdowns were in one big game against the Packers.
Jackson did all of that with Philip Rivers as his quarterback; how well would his performance translate with Blaine Gabbert throwing him the ball?
The U-T San Diego suggests Jackson could potentially receive a contract in the neighborhood of $10-12 million per season over five years. Though he still seems like a young receiver, he is already 29 and would be 34 at the end of a five-year deal.
Add to all of this the fact that he's already got two DUI convictions, and the pile of evidence becomes overwhelming: Vincent Jackson does not make sense for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Better to spend that $10-12 million on improving the pass rush than on an inconsistent 29-year-old receiver with previous drunk driving convictions. Gene Smith won't take that plunge. Honestly, would you? I didn't think so.