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Vincent Jackson will be hot commodity on free-agent market

March 06, 2012|By Chuck Schilken
  • Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, right, celebrates a touchdown with quarterback Philip Rivers.
Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, right, celebrates a touchdown with… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

Vincent Jackson is now free to move about the country. Or he will be as soon as the NFL's free-agency period starts on March 13.

Unlike a year ago, the San Diego Chargers decided not to use the franchise tag on their top wide receiver. Such a move would have counted more than $13 million against the salary cap, a number General Manager A.J. Smith decided the team just couldn't afford this year.

Still, Smith said the Chargers are hoping to retain the services of the man who led the team in receiving yards in three of the last four seasons and in touchdown receptions in two of the last three seasons. "But," Smith acknowledges, "other teams now will enter the picture.”

Jackson could command $10 million or more per season, but teams like the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers seem to have the cap space and the need at wide receiver to pursue such a signing. The Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings have also been mentioned as potential suitors, and others will probably materialize as well.

But some teams might be hesitant to invest heavily in someone with a history of multiple DUI arrests. And Jackson may not want to leave San Diego, where he has spent all seven of his NFL seasons. Last year, he had 60 catches for a team-best 1,106 yards and nine touchdowns, which tied a career high and was also a team high.

There are plenty of other free-agent receivers out there -- Marques Colston, Brandon Lloyd, Randy Moss, Hines Ward, Pierre Garcon and Reggie Wayne, to name a few. But expect Jackson to generate plenty of interest over the next couple of weeks.

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