The days of Vincent Jackson catching passes and mentoring young wide receivers for the Buccaneers appear to be over. We’ve known that, since the Bucs hinted strongly that they were ready to move on during the NFL Scouting Combine.
What you have to wonder now is whether the days of Vincent Jackson catching passes and mentoring young wide receivers anywhere else in the NFL are over as well?
The last we heard anything publicly about Jackson was a report from ESPN’s Adam Caplan, who cited an unnamed source (probably Jackson’s agent) saying that Jackson had no intentions of retiring. That report came amid great speculation that Jackson might indeed be calling it quits.
It was an indication that Jackson felt he still had something to give a team, and he actually may, but here we are three weekends into free agency and we’ve yet to hear a peep about interest in Jackson.
If indeed we have reached the point where no team sees any value in Jackson, it’ll make for a sad end to a great career. But if Jackson is healthy again after missing parts of the last two seasons, because of the same coincidental knee problem, then he could be a worthy pick-up.
No, Jackson is no longer the kind of player you can build your offense around. He’s lost some speed and even when he was healthy last year he struggled to get open and sometimes even to catch the ball.
But Jackson is a consummate pro, and there’s little to suggest he couldn’t at least provide a team with a solid possession-type element coming out of the slot, where his size would almost surely give him an edge over smaller third or nickel corners.
He’d probably come rather cheap, too. Spotrac.com has put Jackson’s market value at $4.6 million, but a team may be able to get him for a little less. After all, Jackson is now competing for work right along with all the members of the 2017 draft class.
Or, at 33, after repeatedly talking on the record about putting down roots in Tampa, Jackson may be done. All we have at the moment is silence.