The season kicks off for the Bolts in a little over two weeks, but the team’s current holdout drama continues to dominate the headlines. Although Marcus McNeill remains the most vital piece of the puzzle (in my opinion) for the team when it comes to winning games this season, Vincent Jackson is the holdout of the week making the most noise.
San Diego has never made it known to other teams around the league that Jackson is available via trade until recently, but the Bolts have limited his landing spot to just one team. According to reports, the Seattle Seahawks are the only franchise that Bolts General Manager A.J. Smith is willing to negotiate with and he is seeking a second round draft choice as compensation for the much maligned wideout.
On the surface, this price tag seems like a steal considering the fact that V Jack’s prime years of his career are still presumably ahead of him at just 27 years of age, but his off-field issues are a fly in the ointment for the Bolts. Jackson has been convicted twice in as many years for DUI offenses with a three game suspension still pending when he finally does put a uniform back on of any color in the future. He seemed contrite in the recent interview that was conducted by the NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora, but teams will still be hesitant to give up much of anything for a player with a tarnished track record. In addition to the off-field questions, Jackson wants Brandon Marshall type of money in the neighborhood of 5 years, $50 million with $30 million guaranteed and that could turn off any potential trade partners.
As for the Chargers side of this equation, there really hasn’t been one peep out of the Bolts front office regarding Jackson nor any inkling as to what direction they might be leaning in regarding his rights. Aside from informing both he and fellow holdout McNeill that they would be placed on the roster exempt list, the Chargers haven’t acknowledged either player to this point. This leads fans to believe that the Bolts are content moving forward in 2010 with the current receivers on their roster like Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee. Floyd is a Jackson-like clone with his lanky 6’5” frame and downfield speed while Naanee can be that underneath option to pick up the tough yardage in a pinch for quarterback Philip Rivers.
Judging by his performance thus far in the preseason, this may finally be the year where Craig “Buster” Davis lives up to expectations and produces a bit for the Bolts offense. Injuries have plagued him since entering the league in 2007, but he seems to be on the right track to fitness and staying healthy for the upcoming year. His presence in the slot could add a much needed shifty dimension to the Bolts at the wideout position with the majority of their targets being of the long, lanky variety. Undoubtedly all-world tight end Antonio Gates will be the main man in the Bolts offense as he has been for the last half decade as his preseason has been fantastic continuing a great relationship with Rivers.
With the vibe from the Chargers front office seeming to believe they no longer need Jackson on their team, what franchises would make the most sense as potential trade partners?
Obviously the aforementioned Seahawks have to head the list of those in contention to land V Jack, but some dark horses to look out for are both the big spending Washington Redskins and Brett Favre equipped Minnesota Vikings. For Washington, Donovan McNabb has to be considered an upgrade at quarterback, but the receiving corps is still lacking with their best option currently being Santana Moss who is average at best as far as number ones are concerned. Jackson would fit well in the nation’s capital where they have never been shy to overpay for big time talent with question marks. Just ask Albert Haynesworth.
As for Minnesota, the loss of Sidney Rice for the first half of the season is a big blow to that team, but Jackson wouldn’t be able to cure that issue anyway until at least week four if he landed with the Vikes considering his suspension. Trying to defend a tandem like Rice and Jackson would be a nightmare for any defensive coordinator in the years to come and adding in the fact that the Vikings have Adrian Peterson in the backfield to keep opponents honest, their offense would be awfully formidable.
San Diego would clearly like to avoid any AFC trading partners in this ordeal so as not to risk facing V Jack in the postseason with the revenge factor on the table. It still remains unclear as to whether or not the team even wants to deal Jackson at all so really the ball is in the front office's court at this point in time. It would be nice to have a resolution to this ordeal so that the team can move forward with confidence in the group of receivers that they will be using come week one, but that is still an iffy proposition.
What do the fans think, would it be better for the Bolts to cut their losses and get something in return for Jackson or should they just allow him to walk after the season? Is Jackson worthy of Brandon Marshall type money or is he just a product of the Bolts high flying aerial attack? In the near term, can Floyd, Naanee, and Davis produce enough for this team to win a Super Bowl or do they need that big play threat of Jackson to make a legitimate push for a title? Give your .02 below!
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