While we’re still two months away from the free agency period from starting, one attention-grabbing nugget came along the football news wire this afternoon. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune broke down a number of options facing the San Diego Chargers this offseason and speculated that wide receiver Vincent Jackson would not be hit with the franchise tag. Acee (who is an excellent beat writer — think what 1500ESPN’s Tom Pelissero is to the Vikings) says that the Chargers prefer to work out a long-term deal with Jackson, yet there are no guarantees that would get done. He later goes on to state that the Chargers would not want to spend $13 million of guaranteed money for 2012 on a wide receiver for a team that many holes along both sides of the ball.
As any fan of the purple would remember, Vincent Jackson was almost a member of the Vikings in September of 2010. Jackson was upset about being slapped with a franchise tag while we were off to a terrible start at 0-2 with a morbid passing game having Sidney Rice on the sidelines. Both teams had extensive trade talks, however a deal never materialized. There were rumored hold-ups of Jackson demanding a contract with a guaranteed $30 million and the Chargers wanting multiple high draft picks from the Vikings . What rumors were truth and fiction doesn’t matter now… a deal simply didn’t get done.
It’ll be very interesting if the Vikings revisit the idea of putting Vincent Jackson in purple. It’s a tough argument either way. Jackson certainly is a dynamic wide receiver who’s gone for over 1000 yards receiving in 3 of the last 4 years and is capable of giving the Vikings the red zone threat they so desperately need. He also would shift attention away for emerging tight end Kyle Rudolph giving Christian Ponder another weapon and allow offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave to get creative with Percy Harvin. On the flip side, if the Vikings were to entertain signing Jackson (and all indications are they will be active in free agency) they’d be facing the same reluctances the Chargers were the past two years while franchising him. Jackson does have two DUI convictions on his record and who can tell now when a stadium deal will be resolved to avoid a possible PR nightmare if Jackson gets his 3rd. Also Jackson turns 29 this month, has made over $25 million the past two seasons and will be seeking a lucrative long-term deal knowing this is his last shot at big money. Then there’s the argument that good teams are built through the draft and the Vikings will have upwards of 10 picks in 2012 alone.
Guess we’ll know in a couple of months. Newly promoted general manager Rick Spielman was involved in the trade talks 15 months ago, there’s a certain stubbornness where if he wants someone on his team the idea never really goes away and it’s only going to get more intense if San Diego allows Jackson to hit the open market.
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig