Why San Diego Chargers Should Sign Marcus McNeil; Trade Vincent Jackson

Mihir BhagatSenior Analyst IIIAugust 21, 2010

Why San Diego Chargers Should Sign Marcus McNeil; Trade Vincent Jackson

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    Every team in the NFL hopes to start off the season without any distractions.

    Unfortunately for the San Diego Chargers, that may not be the case. Heading into the upcoming season, they have contract situations to work out with left tackle Marcus McNeill and wide receiver Vincent Jackson. 

    Both are Pro Bowl players and are critical to their success. However, it appears as if they will have to part ways with one of them.

    With that in mind, which of the two would you pick?

    Personally, the choice wasn't tough at all as I immediately chose McNeill. That said, here are my top five reasons why I did so. 

Depth

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    Looking at the Chargers' current receiver and offensive tackle situations, they have a bigger depth issue behind McNeill.

    Even without Jackson, the team still has reliable pass catchers such as Antonio Gates, Malcolm Floyd, and Darren Sproles.

    Plus, quarterback Phillip Rivers has proven that he's an elite quarterback, and I'm sure that he'd be able to help young guys develop.

    Moreover, they are expected to run the ball much more after trading up in this year's draft to take halfback Ryan Matthews.

    On the other hand, they don't have a serviceable player who could take over at left tackle. 

    Therefore, replacing McNeill would be much more troubling than replacing Jackson.

Consistency and Talent

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    Consistency is an integral key to success in all phases of life.

    Similarly in the NFL, those who produce at a high level on a day-to-day basis deserve high praise.

    Even though his performance has dipped a bit, he has been a solid left tackle ever since his rookie season and has started all but a total of two games in four seasons. 

    Instead, even though Jackson has improved each of his five seasons in the league, he only transitioned into a big-time playmaker in 2008. 

Off-The-Field Issues

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    As we've witnessed on numerous occasions, off-the-field issues can be severely detrimental to an organization.

    Earlier this offseason, Vincent Jackson was suspended for three games for violating the league's substance abuse policy. 

    Who is to say that's not just the start to bigger problems down the road?

    Meanwhile, McNeill still boasts a clean slate. 

    That being the case, he is the much safer option. 

Importance

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    When contemplating between the two, it's important to equate the value of their respective positions.

    Left tackles protect the blind side of a team's quarterback and are have a tremendous impact on the running game as well.

    Without McNeill, Rivers would be forced to scramble around the pocket and wouldn't even have a chance at finding an open receiver. 

    In addition, franchise left tackles are much tougher to come by than 1,000 yard receivers. Just this offseason, receivers such as Santonio Holmes, Brandon Marshall, and Anquan Boldin were brought in for relatively modest prices considering their production levels. 

Trade Negotiations

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    According to reports from NFL.com, the Chargers have allowed the Seattle Seahawks to negotiate a contract with Brandon Marshall.

    That, alone, should be a telling sign that Jackson's days in San Diego are numbered. 

    A team who was in the similar sticky situation were the Denver Broncos and Brandon Marshall. While a trade was imminent, the distraction lingered.

    At this point, it's best if the two sides simply part ways and move on.