Lights, Cameras…Jackson? What Lies Ahead For Chargers' Vincent Jackson?

John Heinis@HeinisHardNewsSenior Analyst IJuly 13, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Wide receiver Vincent Jackson #83 of the San Diego Chargers runs with the ball after a catch against the New York Jets during  AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Vincent Jackson came up big for the Chargers in 2009.  He posted 68 receptions for 1,167 yards, and led the team with nine receiving touchdowns.  However, he has in all likelihood been the most controversial member of the Chargers squad since he was drafted in 2005.

Jackson has been arrested for two DUI charges since then, one in 2006, and one in 2009.  He was not formally charged for his most recent crime until February of 2010, the main reason many are attributing as the reason for his three-game suspension, effective next season. 


The official reason given by the league was that “Jackson violated the league’s personal conduct policy”, so it is hard to imagine he was suspended for any other reason.  Jackson has filed an appeal for the suspension, apparently confident he can at least minimize his punishment. 


The question now is what is next for Jackson?  Since Commissioner Roger Goodell has been cracking down significantly on players recently, the aforementioned question may seem a little out of place. 


Why would a team that has been fiercely competitive the past few seasons even consider getting rid of one of its most potent weapons?  Unfortunately, the drama with VJ does not end with his recent suspension. 

By not signing by the league tender deadline of June 14th, Jackson forfeited over $2.5 million in hopes of getting a long-term deal.   Jackson left a one-year, $3.268 million deal on the table, reducing his guaranteed salary to just $583,000, barring a new deal agreement being reached. 


Needless to say, it is unexpected that a star the caliber of Jackson would play for this salary next year. 


This is what makes the plot thicken, as rumors around the San Diego area indicate that Jackson may decide to hold out until after week 10  if he cannot get a long-term deal.  This would drop his salary all the way down to $206,000, next to nothing by NFL standards, so the Chargers could easily add another receiver to the roster. 


However, if this was going to be the Bolts plan of action, it would probably make more sense to ship Jackson out in the near future.  His trade value has taken a minimal, if any hit, and a plethora of teams could use an upgrade at receiver. 


While I really do not see Jackson leaving San Diego, let us take a look at the possible scenarios here. 


First off, one can pretty much rule out any chance of Jackson being released.  While he has not been a model citizen, he has been far from a PR nightmare, and his productivity on the field would be awfully hard to replace with someone on the current free agent market. 


Terrell Owens is the only name that comes close…and few will argue that he is a terrible fit in San Diego.

The next option for the University of Northern Colorado product would be to get traded.  The market for the receiver may not be as large as one would think since the salary and/or drafts picks to compensate him would be considerable. 


Nevertheless, Jackson would absolutely have some suitors.  The main candidates appear to be the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Redskins.

The Seahawks have been successfully rebuilding seemingly since day one of this offseason, and all of a sudden do not look so terrible with the acquisitions of Golden Tate, Leon Washington and Russell Okung. 


They could certainly still afford Jackson at this point, but it's hard to imagine Jackson going from a perennial winning team to someone in a rebuilding phase.  As much progress as the Seahawks have made, Matt Hasselbeck is still no Phillip Rivers.

The Redskins actually could be a logical move.  The running back core could be formidable next season with Willie Parker, Larry Johnson and Clinton Portis, and the defense should be effective again, with or without Albert Haynesworth. 


Of course, the biggest football news in the nation’s capital this offseason is the addition of Donovan McNabb.  Apparently, Jackson was actually working out with McNabb in Arizona earlier in the month, which could add some fuel to the fire. 


Also, Mike Shanahan was hoping to draft Jackson in ’05 when Shanahan was with the Denver Broncos.  So while this scenario really is not that outlandish, it is a bit conspicuous that the Redskins have yet to try and upgrade at wide receiver ever since signing McNabb in April.


Perhaps Washington is satisfied with their current receiving core?

When the smoke clears, all signs point to Jackson staying.  2009 was his second consecutive 1000-yard season, where he improved on already impressive ’08 totals.  While No. 2 on the depth chart, Malcom Floyd, has shown some promise, his numbers last year leave a lot of ambiguity (45 catches, 776 yards, one score). 


Is this the best we can expect from Floyd (career highs in receptions and yardage), or is this the tip of the iceberg in terms of him showcasing his abilities? 


I doubt an organization as strong as the Chargers will gamble on losing a great talent, but it will be interesting to see how this situation ends up playing out. 




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