Signing Vincent Jackson to a long-term deal would accomplish a couple things. It would allow A.J. Smith to use one of his favorite arguments about how retaining the team’s own free agents counts just as much as signing someone else’s. And getting Jackson locked up for many years on a long-term deal would constitute a great PR move considering not only his importance of Jackson to the Chargers’ passing game but the contentious history between the two sides.
Moreover, it may be the only way to keep him.
Considering all the Chargers have to do – pass rusher, strong safety, possibly replacing three starters on the offensive line, etc. – sources said this week that it is unlikely the team would place the franchise tag on Jackson again in 2012.
The tag is an option, of course, should negotiations, which the team will likely initiate in February, yield no long-term deal. But paying one receiver more than $13 million for one year, especially with so many other players to secure, is unlikely.