Is V-Jax running toward a new team?
There is still much to be learned about the relationship between the San Diego Chargers and their star receiver Vincent Jackson. In fact, until this whole ordeal is over, we won't know exactly what either side has planned.
Regardless, it's common knowledge that Vincent Jackson is a young, talented wide receiver, and has built a reputation as one of the better deep-threats in the game.
At 27, V-Jax has pieced together two straight 1,000+ yard seasons, while scoring seven and nine touchdowns in each of the last two seasons. Jackson has also displayed exceptional play-making during that time, averaging over 17 yards per catch, while never dropping below 15 yards per catch in his career.
Jackson is currently facing a three-game suspension to start the 2010 season, and is also an unsigned restricted free agent. The latest news/rumors have the Seattle Seahawks as the top contenders for his services. Although there is speculation that the Chargers might merely be using Seattle to gauge Jackson's contract demands.
However, it is known that Jackson desires big money, a contract somewhere along the lines of what Brandon Marshall got when he signed with the Miami Dolphins.
But who is to say if he'll be signing the deal in San Diego or Seattle?
Since the Chargers and Seahawks are currently the only two big players in this trading/signing game, I thought I'd take a look outside the box and see if there were some other teams that might want Jackson bad enough to make him one of the highest paid receivers in the league.
Remember, we thought Brandon Marshall could go to the Cardinals, Ravens, Jets, Bears, and Redskins yet he ultimately went to Miami. Anything can happen in these situations.
Read on for the top five potential suitors for V-Jax who are not the Seahawks or Chargers.
After Santana Moss, what is there?
They have a new head coach and staff, a new quarterback, and they have a slew of veteran running backs who are competing for the starting job.
They could be on the verge of becoming an over-the-hill roster that plummets to the bottom of the NFC East, or they could know exactly what they're doing.
However, even the dullest minds in football know that Santana Moss isn't a reliable true No. 1 receiver anymore, and the talent beyond him is laughable, at best.
Mike Shanahan wouldn't pull the trigger on a big receiver in the draft, and failed to bring in his former player, Brandon Marshall.
Perhaps he makes up for it by grabbing Jackson for Donovan McNabb. Doing so would complete a re-worked offense, and give the Redskins all the parts necessary for a realistic run at the 2010 playoffs.
Should the Vikings be concerned about Rice's hip injury?
Brett Favre is back, and excitement is once again in the air in Minnesota. But what about those wide receiver issues?
Sidney Rice hasn't been able to practice fully in August, and some reports even have him as possibly doubtful for Week One against the New Orleans Saints. And what if he's out even longer?
His hip injury stills "hurts", and while he could still rest and recover in time to start the season, the question is out there: how confident are the Vikings that he'll ever be 100% for 2010?
The other big question mark in the passing game is Percy Harvin, whose recent migraine fiasco led to a collapse and a day's worth of ESPN coverage.
Harvin has dealt with migraines for his entire college and pro career, so this could be an ongoing issue. The fact that the team recently worked-out former Favre teammate Javon Walker may spell out the fact that Minnesota is at least slightly concerned about their mending receiving corps.
Bernard Berrian rounds out the Vikings top three wide outs, but his play-making took a major drop-off in 2009, and it's debatable whether or not he's going to play a major role in the offense this season, especially if Rice and Harvin are both healthy.
With all this in mind, the addition of V-Jax would make the Vikings passing offense even more explosive and dangerous than last season, as Jackson would be able to emerge as Favre's deep option, while Harvin could operate out of the slot, and Rice could continue his role as a star possession receiver.
This would give Favre three big-play targets, two of whom have the size and skills to dominate in the red-zone.
Bradford's thought: Get me Vincent Jackson.
Considering the amount of interest the St. Louis Rams put into looking into veteran star receiver Terrell Owens this off-season, one has to wonder if they'd be interested in signing/trading for one of the league's top young receivers.
Jackson would immediately become the Rams top receiving target, and would make Donnie Avery a very solid number two, while giving rookie Mardy Gilyard time to develop into whatever role the teams thinks he'd be best at.
Jackson would probably have to want to go to St. Louis for it to work, so we really don't see it happening.
However, if there's a team that needs talent and could afford to pull the trigger on a big deal, it'd be the Rams. After all, how do the expect Sam Bradford to survive behind that atrocious offensive line without any real weapons?
Could V-Jax be the new Plaxico?
This might be my deep sleeper pick of all the possible landing spots for Jackson.
The Giants have some really nice weapons in the passing game and found a legit top receiver in Steve Smith, but it's also clear that there will never be enough passes to go around and appease both Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks.
The trade for V-Jax could include a player (preferably Manningham, and maybe Sinorice Moss) and a mid-round pick, rather than the popular second rounder we keep hearing about.
Eli Manning did just fine last season with the guys he had, posting the best numbers of his career, but if he had a guy as talented as Jackson, he could take a step to a level most don't even think is possible for the younger Manning.
Cutler deserves a nice, big target like Jackson.
Yeah, we're not sure who the Bears have (in picks or players) to trade, either, but if a second rounder and a fat contract is all they need to do to make this happen, count them in the rumor circle.
Love Smith and the coaching staff are on the hot-seat after a disappointing 7-9 season last year and the same could be said for GM Jerry Angelo.
Bringing in a game-breaker like Jackson into the new Mike Martz offense could really open up the offense. It would also give Jay Cutler the top target he was missing last season, his first with the Bears.
Chicago missed out on the Brandon Marshall sweepstakes and didn't even take a stab at Terrell Owens or Santonio Holmes, so going after Jackson now would help them make up for sitting idly by.
Even with Martz, Cuter, and all the confidence in the world the casual fan knows the Bears have a fairly pedestrian lineup of receivers.
Devin Hester is better suited returning punts and kicks, and if he absolutely has to be a receiver in this league, he'd better be in the slot. Earl Bennett is a possession receiver, and that's about it.
Johnny Knox is the only one with the true talent to possibly become a reliable threat, although even he is fairly raw. Then there's Devin Aromashodu, a guy who came out of nowhere last year, but is still fairly unproven.
Add V-Jax to the mix, and Hester can man the slot, Knox or Aromashodu can lineup on one side, and Bennett could become expendable (heck, they all could become expendable).
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