As most Raider fans are quite aware, this year’s wide receiver free agent class is a very strong one. There are quite a few talented players who will be available, including: Santonio Holmes, Steve Smith, James Jones, Santana Moss, Steve Breaston, Sidney Rice, Malcolm Floyd, and possibly Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, to name just a few. However, there is one wide receiver in particular who has consistently given the Raiders fits with his tough catches and clutch play at receiver. That receiver is Vincent Jackson.
Jackson has haunted the Raiders for three consecutive years. He stands 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 230 lbs. He has been described as “a tree” by Nnamdi Asomugha; Nnamdi says Jackson is one of the toughest he has ever faced.
In just over three seasons as a starter for the San Diego Chargers, Jackson has amassed 212 receptions, 3648 receiving yards, and 28 touchdowns, with a career average of 17.2 yards per catch. Those are very impressive numbers considering the abundance of weapons Philip Rivers has at his disposal, and how Rivers spreads the San Diego offense. If Jackson hadn’t missed 12 games in 2010 due to a holdout, these numbers would be significantly higher, and quite possibly San Diego would have been the division champs ahead of Kansas City.
Selected to the Pro Bowl in 2009, and a starter for three consecutive playoff teams (2007-2009), Vincent Jackson emerged as one of the primary receiving targets for Philip Rivers. Rivers recently spoke on a local San Diego talk show, stating his concern about the re-signing of Jackson, and how Jackson is the best receiver he has ever thrown to. He went so far as to say that Jackson is the best receiver he has seen, period. Rivers also cited the loss of Jackson during this past season’s campaign as a major reason the Chargers failed to make the playoffs, and that losing Jackson to free agency could be disastrous.
Jackson starred at the University of Northern Colorado, where he was an All-American and rewrote the record books for UNC. Drafted in the second round in the 2005 NFL Draft, Jackson is a terrific route runner with incredible hands, blazing speed, and is a true athletic phenom, with a penchant for making big plays.
Vincent Jackson would be an absolute perfect fit with the Raiders, and would give the added bonus of being a reliable deep threat option. He is the prototypical wide receiver that Al Davis covets and the Raiders desperately need. His size, speed, athleticism, and hands are the epitome of what Al is looking for in a receiver. Don’t think for a minute that he is not on Al Davis’ radar, as he is the type of receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was supposed to be, but has shown that he is not worthy of being a starting wide receiver in this league.
Signing Jackson would more than make up for the mistake of drafting DHB, and Jackson would certainly be the most productive and legitimate go-to receiver since Tim Brown.
With the contract dispute he was involved in with AJ Smith, Jackson would be hungry to prove AJ wrong, and a hungry and dedicated Vincent Jackson would be a scary weapon to have on our side. And to top it off, it would be especially nice to burn San Diego and sign their most prolific player.
Jackson, at 28, is still on the upside of his career, and with a player’s coach like Hue Jackson leading the way, this would be a match made in heaven. The presence of Vincent Jackson on the Raiders would immediately elevate the Raider receiving corps into one of the finest in the league. Along with receivers Louis Murphy, Jacoby Ford, Zach Miller, and a healthy Chaz Schilens, there isn’t a secondary in the league that could successfully shut down the Raider passing game.
If Vincent Jackson is available in the free agent market, and AJ Smith does not franchise tag him (and I don’t think he will), Al Davis needs to pay whatever it takes to make Jackson a Raider. If it means paying him more than Nnamdi Asomugha, then so be it.
There are some very fine receivers available in the free agent market, with Vincent Jackson and Santonio Holmes being a cut above the rest. And while there is no way the Jets will let Holmes go, AJ Smith’s ego will allow Jackson to see the open market. It’s inevitable.
Al Davis is going to need to act quickly, as this star is going to shine brightly on the horizon, and will be visible to many teams in need of a dynamic young receiver. That star is a game changing receiver who would become an instant Raider fan favorite, and would be a key member in helping to bring the Raiders back to where they belong: the Superbowl..
This is Spartacus’ first guest contribution to TFDS. Let him know your thoughts in the comment box.