Vincent Jackson - Dominant Yet Underpaid

Vincent Jackson came in to San Diego unrefined but brimming with potential; the Chargers drafted Jackson knowing that he could become something great, as long as both sides remained dedicated to his development. Hard-working and coachable, Vincent Jackson steadily improved and has now emerged to be the #1 wideout many hoped he would become. Wide receiver is a position that generally takes a few years to learn, and although Jackson has continued to progress, he now finds himself on the last year of his rookie contract. It's obviously something the Chargers front office is aware of, and one can assume they'd be working on a new contract offer for him. But will the team low-ball Jackson, especially considering some of his problems off the field? Or will they step up to the plate and secure the player who they have helped develop into one of the best young wide receivers in the league?

Drafted in 2005 by the San Diego Chargers, Vincent Jackson signed a 5-year, $3.495 million deal with the team. Jackson made significant strides in his game year after year, and posted career highs in 2008 with 1098 yards receiving on 59 catches. When you compare his career to say, Buster Davis, you might be shocked at the discrepancies; Davis was a first round draft pick in 2007 and will make 5.4 million dollars of guaranteed money. In two seasons, Davis has 24 catches for 247 yards. He hopes to bounce back and have a nice season for the Bolts in 2009, but as it stands he is buried on the depth chart behind Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson and has been disappointing thus far. Jackson, on the other hand, has shown marked improvement and is now a dominant player in the division.

Receiver is not an easy position to player in the NFL; indeed, no position is easy to play in the NFL, but for some reason wide receivers have an especially difficult time making the transition from the college game to the pro level. A young receiver like Vincent Jackson is somewhat of a rare player, and certainly the type of player you'd want to hold on to if you're a team like the Chargers. Jackson has improved to almost a Pro Bowl caliber level; excellent after the catch, tough in traffic, has shown the ability to make the spectacular catch, and an excellent and willing blocker. Not to mention he is a physical mismatch for almost every defensive back in the league. Jackson is the total package and the Chargers would be foolish not to resign him, right?

On the opposite side of that coin, Jackson has had a couple of unfortunate run-ins with the law, being arrested for DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) twice. With General Manager AJ Smith's zero-tolerance policy, he might consider Jackson too big of a risk to offer a significant contract to. The Chargers might try to low-ball Jackson, citing concerns about his ability to stay out of trouble. While Jackson hasn't been a guy who is violent and ill-tempered off the field, he has made some questionable choices when it comes to drinking and driving.

The Chargers are in a tough position when it comes to Vincent Jackson - on one hand Jackson has blossomed into a spectacular player who can stretch the field and make big-plays down the sideline. But on the other hand, he is also behind the count with two strikes. The Chargers also have to consider who they current have on the roster; an aging but talented Chris Chambers, an unproven Buster Davis, and a player still learning the position in Legedu Naanee. There is also Malcom Floyd, who flashes each year but never seems to be given a true opportunity and is playing on a one-year contract.

Vincent Jackson's contract status will be an interesting situation to monitor. Who has the leverage in the negotiations? Jackson with his somewhat checkered past? Or the Chargers with young receivers who are largely unproven?

July 23, 2009

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Ricky said... Jul 23, 2009, 10:34:00 AM

I hope the Chargers do the right thing and resign Jackson. If he goes on to another team and continues to play well, it'd be almost as bad as letting Michael Turner go. The Chargers need to keep V-Jax

Anonymous said... Jul 23, 2009, 11:26:00 AM

Why should they pay him. He signed that contract. Live up to the agreement. His 2 DUIs are going to hurt him. Oh thats right, he is a charger. Its ok for them to go out and drive drunk. He my play football but that does not excuse his DUIs. He has had one good season out of 4. Lets not forget, fans wanted his head on a stick in 07. They will do the right thing, when its time to do so. Plus buster make more because he is a 1st round pick. Jackson was not stellar in his first 2 seasons. They wont resign him until after the season. I would not do it either. Rivers contract is more important.

Anonymous said... Jul 23, 2009, 1:15:00 PM

they have Floyd why resign Jackson

Anonymous said... Jul 23, 2009, 1:16:00 PM

I don't think he's where you think he is, Rob. He's shown some marked improvements, especially in December, but let's not forget September and November, either. He dropped the pass that Polamalu turned into a spectacular interception, but it hit VJ first - in the hands. Then there was the Atlanta game in which he aparently forgot where the sidelines began. He had a crucial drops in other games, as well. And oh, how the coaches must have loved his post-catch antics: repeatedly pointing his thumbs at the name on the back of his jersey at KC, the choke sign and subsequent 15-yard penalty in the playoffs against the Steelers... I think if Heart-of-Steel/Body-of-Glass Malcolm Floyd stayed healthy, Mr Jackson would have to fight for the number 1 slot. I'd like to see him stay in a Bolts' uni, but after a year with his head down and his nose clean.

Neoplatonist Bolthead said... Jul 23, 2009, 1:20:00 PM

After the season, he'll either be UFA or RFA. If he's UFA, they should give him a reasonable offer that doesn't bust the cap up: if they lose him they have Naanee, Davis and Floyd, and two of those guys will turn into good starters. If there's no new CBA (there won't be), he'll be an RFA, and they should tender him with a 1st and 3rd. Either get another career year out of him or get a big gob of draft value for a guy who was a 2nd-rounder.

Anonymous said... Jul 23, 2009, 2:57:00 PM

I say "pay the man" for his on-the-field merit, and to hell with repeating the financial mistake of guessing wrong on busts like number 1 draft choice Davis; who should be draft choice trade bait by now.
And while I truly admire the great hands and height of Malcolm Floyd, he has never demonstrated that he is of the body type that can reliably stand up to the pounding of starting in the NFL, but Jackson certainly has. He is close to an Intimidator out there, and deserves the starting job and nearly Pro-bowl money. Otherwise, pay and play Naanee!
Regarding Jackson's obvious drinking problem: It's incredibly sad to even consider he might ruin himself and his career, but to those who have really seen the awful gravity of alcohol and drugs, it's no surprise that it is a real possibility. Ditto x2 for the innocent victims of their addictions. So clearly Jackson needs constant monitoring, and that should be factored into his contract and any possible incentives. But mostly, I pray for him to choose his friends and designated drivers very, very carefully. Vincent..., for the love of God; not another drop. Please.

Anonymous said... Jul 23, 2009, 3:46:00 PM

VJ has been the perfect fit in the Chargers offense. One point not yet mentioned is not only his blocking ability, but his willingness to block. I suspect he enjoys it -- why not when you are 6'5" 230.

He is not elite in my eyes for two reasons: a few big drops and his inability to reach out and extend his arms on underthrown balls (yes, Rivers has a tendancy to do this.) Too many times smaller defenders are able to bat ball away or intercept these passes. He needs to learn to use his size and reach to make some of these catches.

I hope AJ can get a deal done after he gets Rivers' deal done.


Anonymous said... Jul 23, 2009, 3:47:00 PM

Or maybe his blocking was mentioned...missed that.

Anonymous said... Jul 23, 2009, 8:25:00 PM

Lets see if he can match last seasons numbers and reduce the number of drops first. He has not earned the big bucks yet. Floyd is Rivers favorite target.Losing Jackson wont hurt much. The team is not lacking there. If he live up to it this year, resign him after river gates and everybody else.

Anonymous said... Jul 24, 2009, 4:46:00 PM

how can you say floy was rivers favorite target when vincent had more receptions touchdowns and receiving yards then floyd, do the right thing and sign that monster 6'5" 245 and can run his ass off!!!

Mark said... Jul 27, 2009, 11:02:00 AM

dump Buster Davis, sign Jackson- but lowball him. Another important receiver to sign is Chris Chambers.

Mark said... Jul 27, 2009, 11:03:00 AM

we shouldn't offer Jackson too much- we need the cash to sign Merriman, and Rivers (of course), and Chambers, and then if there is any left over, offer it to Jackson.

Anonymous said... Aug 21, 2010, 7:56:00 AM

Has Floyd ever caught 1000 yards? He runs like a 4.7. V-Jax runs sub 4.5. This is another example of AJs hubris. True #1 receivers are as rare as left tackles and franchise quarterbacks --if you factor out ones that aren't team cancers - Moss, TO, etc. the number is about as miniscule as shutdown corners. V-Jax shouldn't be drinking and driving and was idiotic before the Jets game but is by no means a team cancer.

Eddie said... Aug 22, 2010, 2:02:00 AM

VJ is not a cancer this is true. He proably one of the league's best WR. But 2 DUIs, Driving with a suspended license, and not accepting he has a problem is the problem. We are talking about a player who wants the team to invest $30mil guarantee up front, a total of $50 mil. But he hasn't shown that he accepts his errors on these off field problems. If that was u or me caught driving with a suspended license we would have been arrested & booked. Do u want to be resonsible when he kills himself or someone else while drivng drunk? I don't. And Iam pretty sure the Chargers don't want any part of this type of problem. I know people say the Chargers should help him, bull he wants the big money so he should have admit himself to rehab right after that Jets game , But he didn't. He sealed his own fate. Bye Bye J.J. oops I mean V.J.

Anonymous said... Aug 22, 2010, 2:07:00 AM

Hey you guys !!! Chris Chambers doesn't play for the Chargers !!!! He plays for the Dolphins!!!!!! Man u guys need to get your bulls**t togetheir.

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