Chicago Bears: Why Their Odds of Signing Vincent Jackson Just Went Up

Rob TongContributor IIIMarch 13, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 16:  Wide receiver Vincent Jackson #83 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 16, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

While the Randy Moss-to-San Francisco news hogged most of the media spotlight Monday, a bigger news item slipped under the radar that had nothing to do with the Chicago Bears—yet that news item could have major implications for the Bears.

The Washington Redskins were stripped of $36 million in salary cap space for front-loading contracts in 2010—an uncapped year, according to The New York Times.

The Dallas Cowboys were docked too but that has less impact on the Bears.

The Redskins previously had $30.5 million in cap space. But Washington must absorb at least half of the $36 million penalty this year, which would leave the Redskins with just $12.5 million in cap space remaining, according to the Washington Post.

These developments, in turn, affect the Bears' ability to sign wide receiver Vincent Jackson because Washington was one of the three teams expected to aggressively pursue Jackson.

But with the Redskins' now significantly smaller cap space, Jackson may be too expensive for Washington to take on.

That would leave the chase between Tampa Bay and the Bears.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported on Sunday that the Buccaneers "have the inside track" to get Jackson but failed to explain why.

Warmer home weather could be a factor but it's hard to imagine Jackson would rather have uneven Josh Freeman as his quarterback rather than the substantially more talented Jay Cutler. Having more inflated stats with Cutler should appeal to Jackson more than weather.

This is where Bears fans will see whether or not general manager Phil Emery is a good salesman.

But in any event, the Vincent Jackson sweepstakes just went from three serious suitors to two, thanks to the Redskins penalty. From a purely mathematical point of view, the Bears' odds went up from 33 percent to 50 percent without having lifted a finger on Monday.

Bears fans will take those odds any day.