Entering his seventh year in the NFL, Vincent Jackson is very content playing this season on a one-year contract with the San Diego Chargers to show his true value on the open market. And depending on the language of the new collective bargaining agreement, Jackson could be ruled an unrestricted free agent prior to the start of training camp.
It makes sense that multiple teams are interested in acquiring the talented Charger wideout. He has twice (2008 and 09) surpassed a 1,000 reception yards and his large frame (6’5”, 230 lbs.) makes him an ideal target downfield for quarterbacks.
Clearly, VJ is unhappy in San Diego.
Here are the 5 biggest red flags surrounding Vincent Jackson:
Twice, Jackson has been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), as the latest came during a Charger playoff run. His problems begin if he has another discretion, then Jackson will have violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and be subjected to a suspension.
The market place was established last season, as top-flight WR Brandon Marshall signed a $48 million deal after the Miami Dolphins acquired him from the Denver Broncos via trade. And if you think forcing Chargers GM A.J. Smith’s hand will solve the problem, then think again. He will be looking for at least one first-round draft choice or multiple second –round picks if you want to acquire Jackson’s services.
In 2006, Jackson caught a big pass for a first down late in a highly-contested divisional game against the Oakland Raiders. In his enthusiasm, he spun the ball on the turf…one problem, Jackson was never touched by a defender and the football was still alive for both teams to possess.
And who could forget his 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty (kicking the challenge flag) that stalled a potential scoring drive against the New York Jets in a home playoff loss. Poor judgment decisions like these will shy away all prospective employers
Jackson held out as long as possible before relenting and finally signing the one-year tender contract from the Chargers last season. He felt deserving of a long-term commitment from the team, despite all of his off-field issues.
Jackson’s impact last season was minimal, as he was injured and played in only five games. His holdout was one of main contributors to the Chargers’ lackluster season.
Inserting an All-Pro receiver into the lineup will forever change the team’s offensive philosophy. In a blink of an eye, a run-oriented team will become a pass-happy offense.
A bigger question is whether Jackson can create instant chemistry with new quarterback without much practice together. On key downs, it makes sense to throw to more familiar receivers. Coaches could disrupt offensive chemistry if they try to force-feed Jackson into the lineup.