Vincent Jackson will stay a Charger in 2011

San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) celebrates a first down catch against the Kansas City Chiefs during their NFL football game in San Diego, California December 12, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune stated on Tuesday that receiver Vincent Jackson will play under the $11.3 million franchise tag for the Chargers in 2011.


“Vincent Jackson will be a Charger, and that’s the bottom line,” Acee said. Jackson “very much” wants to stay in San Diego, though Acee stops short of predicting that one of the “hardest working and most intelligent” players he’s ever covered will end up inking a long-term deal with the Bolts. The Boston Globe’s Greg Bedard hears that Jackson, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady have “softened their stance” on free agency after Tuesday’s public backlash.

That “backlash” included Vikings punter Chris Kluwe posting this on Twitter: “Sigh, and once again greed is the operative byword. Congrats Brees, Manning, Mankins, and Jackson for being ‘that guy’. #douchebags.”

What has angered guys like Kluwe is how both Manning and Brees requested exemptions from the franchise tag as part of the NFL’s new CBA, with Jackson and Mankins essentially doing the same thing. This has led some to believe that the four players would hold up the labor negotiations in order to negotiate their own side deals, which obviously looks mega selfish on the part of Manning, Brees, Mankins and Jackson. But Adam Schefter said that he doubts these “side deals” would impede the progress that the players and owners have made in constructing a new CBA deal.

Getting back to Jackson, if he ever winds up hitting the open market he should cash in big time. Receivers that have soft hands, are willing to block, and can stretch defenses vertically don’t fall off trees. All things considered, he might be the most valuable receiver in the league. (That is, when he’s actually on the field and not either suspended or holding out in a contract dispute.)

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NFL Notes: Mankins requests trade, Dumervil signs tender & McRath busted for PEDs

– According to the Boston Herald and Patriots’ beat writer Mike Reiss, guard Logan Mankins has requested a trade in wake of his current contract situation. Says Makins: “I don’t need to be here anymore. This is about principle with me and keeping your word and how you treat people.”

The Patriots aren’t big on handing out big contracts to guards (or anyone not named Tom Brady for that matter), but it’ll be interesting to see what approach they take now that Mankins has demanded a trade.

– The NFL has suspended Titans linebacker Gerald McRath four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He was expected to start this season after seeing extensive action last year as a rookie, but now it appears that David Thornton’s job is safe.

Speaking of the Titans, Chris Johnson continues to stay away from mini-camp in hopes that the team will give him a new contract. A resolution doesn’t appear to be in sight, as the Titans wants him to play on his current deal, which still has three years remaining on it. Of course if CJ decides to holdout through training camp, Tennessee could be forced to pony up. Johnson is without a doubt their most productive player.

Elvis Dumervil signed his one-year, $3.168 million tender with the Broncos on Monday. The Denver Post’s Lindsay Jones writes that the two parties will continue to work on a long-term deal, which Dumervil deserves in wake of his performance last season.

– The Vikings re-signed restricted free agent Ray Edwards to a one-year, $2.521 million deal. The defensive end had threatened last month to hold out, but apparently that was just a ploy in hopes of receiving long-term contract. Edwards recorded 51 tackles and 8.5 sacks last season.

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The top five best, worst and most improved offensive lines in the NFL

There’s a secret that most good fantasy football owners don’t want you to know: Knowing how good (or how bad) an offensive line is could be the difference between you making the playoffs in your league, and winning the whole damn thing.

The bottom line is that the offensive line is the key to whether or not an offense is going to be successful in any given season. They’re the reason why guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brews are able to rack up terrific passing yards year in and year out, and why Brandon Jacobs, Michael Turner and Adrian Peterson continue to be solid fantasy backs. So knowing which O-lines are quality and which act like revolving doors to their team’s backfield will give you an edge on draft day.

Below is a ranking of the top five best lines, the top five most improved lines and the top five worst lines in the NFL heading into the ’09 season. Use these rankings as a tool to help you make better decisions on draft day and to also aid you when you’re stuck between a couple of players in later rounds.

Granted, we’re not advocating bumping certain players to the top of your pre-draft rankings just based on these rankings. The Lions offensive line is the worst in football, but if Kevin Smith is there for the taking in the 5th round, by all means jump on him. This article is purely meant to be a helpful aid; obviously you still have to use solid judgment on draft day.

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