Jackson would provide Freeman with a No. 1 WR
The Bucs pursuit of Chargers free agent receiver Vincent Jackson will be a costly one. He would've received $13-million this year had San Diego decided to give him the franchise tag for a second straight season. Tampa Bay is negotiating with Jackson and an agreement could be reached tonight.
But Tampa Bay needed a No. 1 receiver for quarterback Josh Freeman and Jackson is exactly that. He owns a career average of 17.5 yards, can stretch the field and will make defenses account for him. That should make young receivers such as Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn more effective.
Williams, who led all rookie receivers with 11 touchdowns in 2010, struggled last season following the lockout, had too many drops and produced only three TDs in 2011. Benn was not as explosive coming off surgery to repair a torn ACL.
The Bucs believe in Freeman, despite his 22 interceptions last season. Too often, receivers could not get separation and the lack of a deep threat also impacted the running game.
Coach Greg Schiano says he wants the Bucs to own a physical running game and take shots downfield with Freeman, who has a strong arm and is accurate throwing the deep ball.
Signing Jackson, in addition to sending a signal to Bucs fans that the Glazers will spend what it takes to win, will be a big shot in the arm for the offense.