Report: Bucs, Bears and Redskins all interested in Vincent Jackson

There have been conflicting reports over the last 24 hours about which teams are the supposed frontrunners to acquire free agent receiver Vincent Jackson. But this much is sure: V-Jax will have plenty of suitors when the NFL free agency period kicks off on Tuesday.

Over the weekend, The’s Lance Zierlein said that the “belief around the league” is that the Redskins will go “very hard” after Jackson following their trade with the Rams for the No. 2 overall pick. Washington is in desperate need of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball and without a first round pick in 2013 and 2014, the Skins need to be aggressive in free agency. After all, Robert Griffin III will need a big target to throw to when the Redskins draft him with the second overall pick in late April. (Or at least, that’s what the supposed plan is in Washington.)

The Redskins were also mentioned by the Union-Tribune San Diego as one of the two teams believed by them to be the frontrunners for Jackson. The other team mentioned in the Union-Tribune’s report was the Bears, who have been in need of a prototypical No. 1 receiver for what seems like the existence of their franchise.

Ironically, there was a story in Monday’s Chicago Sun Times that conflicts with the Union-Tribune’s report. According to the Sun Times, the Buccaneers have the “inside track” when it comes to signing V-Jax, and not the Bears. Tampa Bay has loads of cap space and a definite need at receiver, so the Sun Times’ report may have legs. That said, it’s not uncommon that reports conflict with each other around this time of year, as player representatives try to build a market for their clients.

Jackson is now the face of a very deep wide receiver pool in this year’s free agent class, especially with Wes Welker (franchised/Patriots), Dwayne Bowe (franchised/Chiefs), DeSean Jackson (franchised/Eagles) and Steve Johnson (re-signed/Bills) off the market. Reggie Wayne (Colts), Marques Colston (Saints), Brandon Lloyd (Rams), Robert Meachem (Saints) and Mario Manningham (Giants) are all unrestricted and will be available on Tuesday. Mike Wallace is a restricted free agent, but if a team is will to part with a first-round pick he might become available due to the Steelers’ cap issues.

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Potential trade suitors for Vincent Jackson

It’s becoming increasing clearer by the day that Chargers GM A.J. Smith would rather clean toilets at a state penitentiary than pay Vincent Jackson what he wants (i.e. roughly $47.5 million over four years), which is the deal Brandon Marshall got from the Dolphins). With that in mind, will he inevitably try to trade the talented receiver?

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Chargers have made it known that Jackson (who remains an unhappy, unsigned restricted free agent) is available via trade. Assuming the Bolts don’t want to trade Jackson to a division rival or a playoff contender in the AFC, below are the teams that make the most sense if San Diego does indeed trade him.

REDSKINS: Daniel Snyder is so reckless with his money that he wouldn’t bat an eye if it came to paying Jackson as much as Marshall received. The Skins are also desperate for wideout help seeing as how Santana Moss, Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas formed one of the least productive receiver corps in the league last year. Mike Shanahan knows Jackson well from his days as head coach in Denver and therefore, knows how productive he can be in all areas of the game (route running, stretching the field, run-blocking, you name it). The Skins might be the front-runners for Jackson, assuming they’re willing to part with at least a first round pick to acquire his services.

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