With several wide receivers about to become unrestricted free agents, Vincent Jackson appears to be pulling ahead of the pack in the race to see which one of them can receive the most lucrative offer.
Three teams with plenty of money to spend — the Buccaneers, Bears and Redskins — all reportedly have identified Jackson as a high priority. That has to be wonderful news to Jackson and his agent, considering that the Buccaneers are $42.7 million under the salary cap, the Redskins are $31.1 million under and the Bears are $22.6 million under.
We noted yesterday that the Redskins are willing to break the bank for Jackson, Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports today that the Bears are serious suitors for Jackson but the Buccaneers have the inside track right now.
In other words, three teams with loads of salary cap space are going to try to out-bid each other. It’s good to be Vincent Jackson right now.
It’s also surprising the extent to which Jackson’s baggage doesn’t seem to be an issue. Jackson is 29 years old and already has seven seasons of wear and tear on his body? Doesn’t matter. Jackson was often an unhappy camper in San Diego? Doesn’t matter. Jackson was suspended three games in 2010 after his second drunk driving conviction? Doesn’t matter. Teams are so enamored with his 18.4 yards a catch and nine touchdowns last season that they’re willing to overlook those issues.
So Jackson is about to get paid. With free agency starting at 4 p.m. Eastern tomorrow, Jackson could be ready to sign a lucrative contract at 4:01.