The Seattle Seahawks have reportedly been granted written permission by the San Diego Chargers to discuss contract terms with wide receiver Vincent Jackson.
This doesn’t necessarily mean a trade is imminent – several sources have indicated that Seattle and San Diego are still far from completing a deal – but it could be the smoke that signals fire. And the news is definitely refreshing for anyone who wanted to see the Seahawks acquire Vincent Jackson.
For much of the offseason, the Seahawks have supposedly been interested in acquiring Vincent Jackson. They reportedly considering signing him as a restricted free agent, but Jackson never signed his tender. The San Diego Chargers have never made it clear if Jackson is available via trade, either.
Jackson, 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, is the type of playmaker the Seahawks desperately need to help their offense. The San Diego Chargers were trying to retain Jackson with a long-term deal, but both sides became somewhat disgruntled through difficult offseason negotiations.
When Jackson refused to sign a one-year tender of $3.268 offered by San Diego, the team reduced the value to $583,000. To make things even more difficult, San Diego told Jackson he would be placed on the Roster Exempt List if he didn’t sign the reduced tender by yesterday. The designation means Jackson would be ineligible to play for three games following the day he signs and that he has to report by Week 8 in order to get his six games and accrued season.
Jackson has developed into one of the more productive deep threats in the National Football League, averaging over 17 yards per catch last season. San Diego seemed hesitant to pay him like a premier receiver, possibly due to minor problems off the field. Jackson has twice been charged with driving under the influence and is facing a three-game suspension whenever he plays again for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Like most premier players, however, the off-field issues may be worth dealing with if Jackson is productive. The last two seasons, he has averaged 64 catches, 1,133 yards, and 8 touchdowns.
In 2009, Seattle wide receivers averaged 11.5 yards per reception and caught only 8 touchdowns as a group. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who had the most success statistically, caught 79 balls for 911 yards (11.5 yards per catch) and 3 touchdowns. It is obvious that Seattle desperately needs a playmaking wide receiver who is capable of stretching the field vertically, and Vincent Jackson would immediately add credibility to an offense that averaged only 17.5 points per game last season.
Like any valuable asset, however, the San Diego Chargers will probably demand lofty compensation for their disgruntled wide receiver. Chargers general manager A.J. Smith already received a nice package from Seattle for Charlie Whitehurst, so expect him to accept nothing less than face value for Jackson.
Of course, the most reasonable comparison to Vincent Jackson is Brandon Marshall, who cost the Miami Dolphins a pair of second-round picks in consecutive years. Marshall is a more legitimate playmaker and one of the best receivers in the league, but acquiring Jackson will probably cost Seattle a similar fee.