The Patriots have looked into the possibility of dealing for Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson, a source confirmed Thursday night.
Talks are preliminary at this point but the idea of the Patriots acquiring Jackson in exchange for Logan Mankins is in play.
Mankins and Jackson are in identical contractual situations. They are restricted free agents in their fifth seasons in the league. Had the expiring CBA not intervened, both would have been free agents last offseason. Both men have opted to sit out rather than play for their tender offers.
Jackson, a 2009 Pro Bowl alternate, was placed on the roster exempt list by San Diego in the offseason. He will have to sit out three games if and when he's traded.
According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune, the asking price for Jackson is a second and third-round pick to an NFC; a first and a second to an AFC team.
Again, it's early in the process and the Patriots are exploring several possibilities for shoring up their receiver corps in the wake of the Randy Moss deal. How serious their conversations are, we'll soon find out.
It's a steep price to pay for an AFC team, but is more in line with a move the Patriots would make - compared to rumors of them going after Deion Branch of Seattle.