Vincent Jackson

Vincent Jackson Retires From NFL

Vincent Jackson is “very happily retired” from the NFL, a representative for the wide receiver tells Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Jackson has played in over a year-and-a-half, so the news was largely expected.

Jackson appeared in three Pro Bowls over the course of his 12-year NFL career with the Chargers and Buccaneers. His last NFL season in 2016, however, did not go according to plan. That campaign ended after just five games due to a serious knee injury.

Now focused on community and business work in the Tampa, Florida area, the 35-year-old has fully transitioned into post-NFL life. He leaves the game with 9,080 receiving yards and 57 touchdowns and six individual seasons with 1,000 yards or more.

Jackson entered the league as a second-round pick of the (then San Diego) Chargers in 2005. Injuries hampered him as an NFL freshman, but he eventually blossomed into a dangerous receiving threat. A contract dispute later soured his relationship with Bolts brass, leading him to sign a five-year, $55.55MM free agent deal with the Bucs in 2012. Things started with a bang in Tampa as he enjoyed a career year with 72 catches for 1,384 yards and eight touchdowns. His eye-popping of 19.2 yards per catch led the NFL that year.

After a successful and lucrative NFL career, Jackson has decided to focus on other endeavors. It sounds like he’s settled into post-football life, even if Jon Gruden calls him up.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Chiefs, Johnson, Colts, Chargers

Some assorted notes from around the NFL as we wrap up this Monday evening…

  • Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he was not involved in the evaluation process in promoting Brett Veach to GM (Twitter link via James Palmer of NFL.com). The Chiefs promoted the 39-year-old earlier this month, and reports indicated that while Veach will have control over the roster, he’ll ultimately work in tandem with his head coach.
  • Here’s something that could affect the Browns‘ roster bubble: Duke Johnson profiles more as a wide receiver right now than a running back, Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer writes. Johnson is the leading candidate to replace Andrew Hawkins as the team’s No. 1 slot receiver and has been split out wide at times in practice. After carrying the ball 104 times as a rookie, Johnson ran the ball only 73 times in 2016 and he could be looking at another reduction this year.
  • The Colts have not had substantive extension talks with left guard Jack Mewhort as he enters his contract year, Stephen Holder of the Indy Star tweets. Mewhort has started at left guard with some appearances at tackle since entering the league in 2014. Unfortunately, the former second round pick saw his season cut short last year due to a knee injury. Mewhort has graded out as a starting caliber player for the Colts in each of his NFL seasons. In 2016, he was PFF’s 23rd ranked guard.
  • Titans guard Sebastian Tretola apparently suffered a minor injury from a bullet, and ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky tweeted a statement from the organization: “We are aware of the reports that Sebastian received treatment for a wound when he was grazed by a bullet…He has been released from the hospital and is thankful for only a minor injury.” The 2016 sixth-round pick appeared in only one game as a rookie last season.
  • Following news that Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams might need season-ending surgery on a herniated disk in his back, ESPN.com’s Eric D. Williams explored whether the team could bring back veteran Vincent Jackson. The writer ultimately believes that he wouldn’t be a fit, as the team could rely on a number of young players to fill the void. Alternatively, the team could opt for a number of free agents (including Stevie Johnson and Vincent Brown) who are more familiar with the team’s current offensive scheme. Jackson spent the first seven seasons of his career in San Diego, earning a pair of Pro Bowl selections.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Vincent Jackson Interested In Bucs Reunion

Free agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson has fielded inquiries from interested NFL clubs, but it sounds as though he’d prefer to return to the Buccaneers. Appearing on 620 WDAE Friday, Jackson maintained that while he isn’t currently working on a deal with Tampa Bay, he feels he’d be a solid fit in Dirk Koetter‘s offense.Vincent Jackson

[RELATED: Top NFL Offensive Free Agents]

“I’m just going to wait until the right opportunity presents itself,” Jackson said (link via JoeBucsFan.com). “I’m assuming it may be later this spring/early summer when people can kind of evaluate their roster, get through the draft, and know exactly what they need and what the value is. For me man, I’m being patient.”

Jackson, 34, appeared in only five games for the Buccaneers in 2016 after suffering an ACL injury. During that time, he caught 15 of 32 targets for 173 yards and zero touchdowns. Tampa Bay reportedly discussed a potential reunion with Jackson, but general manager Jason Licht hinted last month that Jackson’s time with the club may be over.

“We did have conversations with Vincent,” Licht said. “I have the utmost respect for him. Everybody in the organization does. In my mind, in head coach Dirk [Koetter’s] mind, in the owners’ minds, he’ll be a Buc for life. So whatever happens happens, but we’ll always want Vincent to be around the organization.”

The Buccaneers already added another veteran receiver this offseason, inking DeSean Jackson to a three-year deal worth $33.5MM. He’ll pair with Pro Bowler Mike Evans to give Tampa Bay a solid starting pass-catching tandem. The rest of the Bucs’ wide receiver depth chart is comprised of Adam Humphries, Josh Huff, Freddie Martino, Donteea Dye, and Bernard Reedy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Offense

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Quarterback:

  1. Jay Cutler
  2. Chase Daniel
  3. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  4. Colin Kaepernick
  5. Josh McCown
  6. Robert Griffin III
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Christian Ponder
  11. Blaine Gabbert
  12. Ryan Nassib
  13. Shaun Hill
  14. Kellen Moore
  15. Austin Davis

Tony Romo is not a free agent…at least not yet. If the Cowboys do not find a suitable trade and release him, you’ll find him at the top of this list.

Laugh if you must, but Cutler is far and away the best quarterback available on the open market. While most of this year’s QB-needy teams are done with their free agent shopping, the Jets are still searching for their 2017 starter and no one would make more sense for them than Cutler. He’s not all that far removed from playing solid football and he’s a logical transitional option for the Jets until they can isolate a better, younger option for 2018. Jay Cutler (Vertical)

Kaepernick’s reps wisely told the press that he will be standing for the National Anthem this year. Still, Kaepernick is an outspoken guy who wants to use his platform to discuss hot button issues, so there’s no guarantee that the media circus around him will cease. Jets owner Woody Johnson loves seeing his team on the back pages of the New York tabloids, but even he has to have more sense than to entertain Kaepernick. McCown, who has been contact with the team, would be an okay choice if they can’t get something done with Cutler. Chase Daniel could be an option too, but there isn’t much game film on him.

Needless to say, the No. 3 ranked player on this list isn’t an option in New York.

Running back:

  1. Adrian Peterson
  2. LeGarrette Blount
  3. Jamaal Charles
  4. Rashad Jennings
  5. Tim Hightower
  6. DeAngelo Williams
  7. Chris Johnson
  8. Christine Michael
  9. Benny Cunningham
  10. Bobby Rainey
  11. Brandon Bolden
  12. Denard Robinson
  13. James Starks
  14. Matt Asiata
  15. Kenjon Barner

Honorable mention: DuJuan Harris, Antonio AndrewsKhiry Robinson

Adrian Peterson (vertical)The Vikings have moved on and Peterson will not be back in Minnesota. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess. When Peterson’s option was declined by the Vikings earlier this month, there were tons of stories (likely sourced by Peterson’s camp) about interest from a litany of contenders. Since then, each team – through anonymous sources – has denied being in the mix for the veteran. It would be easy to doubt Peterson at this juncture, but he has come back from serious injuries multiple times in his career and he is only one year removed from his stellar 2015 campaign. He gets the top spot over the bruising Blount as well as Charles, who hasn’t been healthy in a long while.

Jennings was brought to New York with the idea that he would be the team’s workhorse. Unfortunately, two of his three seasons with the G-Men were marred by injury. Jennings is currently putting his agility to good use on Dancing With The Stars and it remains to be seen how committed he is to football. After that, we have a trio of vets (Hightower, Williams, CJ2K) who could still advance the ball in limited spurts.

In case you’re wondering – Mike Gillislee is not listed here because he is a restricted free agent.

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Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Offense

NFL free agency is right around the corner! The legal tampering period starts on Tuesday and free agency officially starts on Thursday. The list of available free agents will change between now and then as players re-sign with teams or get cut loose, but we have a pretty good idea of who will be available right now. After looking at the top defensive players, we now shift our attention to the other side of the ball.

Here are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each position. The rankings aren’t determined by earning power, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with a combination of short- and long-term value taken into account. You won’t find restricted free agents or franchise tagged guys here since they are unlikely to go leave their current clubs.

Player evaluation is always subjective, so we encourage you to make your voices heard in the comments section in cases where you disagree with us.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Updated 3-7-2017, 2:55pm CT

Quarterback:

  1. Mike Glennon
  2. Nick Foles
  3. Brian Hoyer (story)
  4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  5. Colin Kaepernick
  6. Josh McCown
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Christian Ponder
  12. Blaine Gabbert
  13. Geno Smith
  14. Matt Schaub (story)
  15. EJ Manuel

Honorable mention: Ryan Nassib, Landry JonesShaun Hill Mike Glennon (vertical)

Colin Kaepernick’s agents have (wisely) let everyone know that their client will stand for the National Anthem in 2017. That may seem like a minor point, but teams say they would have automatically removed him from consideration if he continued his attention-grabbing protest. He grabbed headlines for his actions on the sidelines last year, but he actually turned in an OK season. From a football standpoint, Kaepernick would make sense for a lot of teams as a QB2 with upside.

Interestingly, this list includes three quarterbacks who couldn’t cut it as the Jets’ starter and three rejects from the 49ers. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all six of those players (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kaepernick, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert) come with varying degrees of potential and proven effectiveness. Smith, somehow, could reportedly be retained by the Jets and installed as the starter in 2017.

Ryan Nassib is just outside of the top 15 here with EJ Manuel getting the final spot. Despite positive word about his play in practice, Nassib is unproven and the Giants’ apparent lack of interest in re-signing him says a lot. It’s also possible that he might not be 100% after ending the 2016 season on IR with an elbow injury. Manuel, for all his warts, has shown potential in small bursts.

Running back:

  1. Eddie Lacy
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Jamaal Charles
  6. Darren McFadden
  7. Jacquizz Rodgers
  8. Rex Burkhead
  9. Rashad Jennings
  10. Danny Woodhead
  11. Tim Hightower
  12. DeAngelo Williams
  13. Andre Ellington
  14. Chris Johnson
  15. Christine Michael

Honorable mention: Robert Turbin, Travaris Cadet, Benny Cunningham, Lance Dunbar, Bobby Rainey, Brandon BoldenDenard Robinson, James Starks

Adrian Peterson (vertical)As expected, the Vikings have cut Adrian Peterson loose and he is expected to garner interest from contending clubs this week. Some might peg Peterson as the most talented running back in this year’s free agent class, but it all comes down to how you weigh his age and injury history. Peterson has shocked the football world in the past with an incredible comeback, but I’m a little skeptical of his ability to do it again in his age-32 season. Eddie Lacy, who has injury question marks of his own, takes the top spot at the position.

The Patriots believe they won’t be able to match the offers that come in LeGarrette Blount‘s direction. Latavius Murray could circle back to the Raiders, but he won’t be agreeing to a deal with them before free agency opens on Thursday.

Jamaal Charles has the most impressive resume of anyone on this list, with the exception of Peterson. However, no one knows exactly what he can do after playing eight games in the last two years. He’ll turn 31 in December and that’s usually not an indicator of success for running backs.

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Bucs WR Vincent Jackson Will Not Retire

There has been talk that Vincent Jackson could retire, but the wide receiver plans on playing in 2017, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Jackson is coming off of a disappointing season in which an MCL sprain limited him to only five games. Vincent Jackson (vertical)

[RELATED: Bucs Offered Mike Glennon $8MM Per Year]

Jackson, 34, is a pending free agent. When asked about the veteran’s status this week, GM Jason Licht hinted that he probably won’t be back with the Bucs next season.

“We did have conversations with Vincent,” general manager Jason Licht said Wednesday. “I have the utmost respect for him. Everybody in the organization does. In my mind, in head coach Dirk [Koetter’s] mind, in the owners’ minds, he’ll be a Buc for life. So whatever happens happens, but we’ll always want Vincent to be around the organization.”

Jackson has eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark six different times in his career, but he has played in only 15 games in the last two years. Given his advanced age and knee problems, it’s not clear what he can bring to the table next year. Jackson could also be selective about any offers that come his way. The wide receiver has appeared in seven playoff games thanks to his time with the Chargers but he has never won a championship. Often times, players like him will only want to sign with contending clubs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Bucs, Falcons, Panthers

The Buccaneers and impending free agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson have discussed a potential return, but the 34-year-old could retire, writes Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. “We did have conversations with Vincent,” general manager Jason Licht said Wednesday. “I have the utmost respect for him. Everybody in the organization does. In my mind, in head coach Dirk [Koetter’s] mind, in the owners’ minds, he’ll be a Buc for life. So whatever happens happens, but we’ll always want Vincent to be around the organization.”

Jackson has been with the Buccaneers since 2012, and he started 16 games in each of his first three seasons as a member of the club, but he has endured back-to-back knee injury-shortened campaigns. The six-time 1,000-yard man has combined for just 15 appearances since 2015.

Regardless of whether the Buccaneers re-sign Jackson, they’re going to target “playmakers” this offseason, Licht revealed. Entering free agency, only three teams have more cap space than the Bucs.

More from the NFC South:

  • Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and guard Ben Garland will be tendered as RFAs (Twitter link via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com). He did not specify what level, however. Gabriel was the far bigger contributor of the two last year, when he averaged 16.5 yards per catch on 35 receptions and combined for seven touchdowns through the air and on the ground. Garland appeared in all 16 of the Falcons’ regular-season games, but he didn’t start any.
  • Dimitroff also announced that the Falcons will let defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux become an unrestricted free agent after 12 years together, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Conversely, the Falcons are trying to re-sign fullback Patrick DiMarco (Twitter link). Babineaux, 35, has totaled 185 appearances, 133 starts, 27 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in Atlanta, which selected him in the second round of the 2005 draft. He’s coming off the eighth 16-game season of his career, in which he picked up six starts and 22 tackles. DiMarco, a four-year Falcon, has three 16-appearance seasons in a row under his belt. He made eight starts in 2016.
  • Panthers GM Dave Gettleman told reporters on Wednesday that tackle Michael Oher is still in the league’s concussion protocol. This means the Panthers could be in the market for a starting left tackle. Oher has been dealing with a brain injury since September and only played in three games last year as a result. The eight-year veteran is under contract through 2019.
  • Reserve defensive end Darryl Tapp made it clear Wednesday that he wants to re-sign with the Saints, relays Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Tapp’s agent and the Saints have engaged in discussions about a new deal. The 32-year-old journeyman just finished his first season in New Orleans, where he started in two of 16 appearances.
  • As of last month, the Buccaneers hadn’t held contract talks with soon-to-be free agent running back Jacquizz Rodgers. However, the team would “love to have” him back, Licht stated (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com). Rodgers, 27, put up 560 yards on 129 rushes (4.3 per carry) and scored two touchdowns last season.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Buccaneers Bring Back Charles Sims

The Buccaneers announced that running back Charles Sims has been designated for return from injured reserve. Sims will now begin his 21-day practice window. Charles Sims (vertical)

The Bucs’ backfield was cursed this season with injuries claiming Doug Martin, Sims, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Antone Smith (done for year). In August, the Bucs’ running back group was one of the stronger units in the league. Mere weeks later, Tampa Bay was hard up for RB production.

Martin, who wishes that you no longer refer to him as “Muscle Hamster,” returned to action a couple of weeks ago. In the last two games, he has amassed just 96 yards off of 40 carries. As Martin works his way back to 100% health, Sims could help to jumpstart Tampa Bay’s running game.

Sims’ return means that Vincent Jackson cannot play again in 2016. Jackson did not suffer a complete ACL tear as initially feared, so a comeback was still possible for him this season. However, it sounds like he’ll need additional recovery time. The 5-5 Buccaneers still have a shot at the playoffs and they are opting for a mostly healthy Sims to help their running game over a banged up Jackson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Bucs’ Vincent Jackson, Charles Sims

When the Buccaneers placed Vincent Jackson on IR with a knee injury Oct. 23, there were questions as to whether the wide receiver had suffered a torn ACL. He dodged that fate, according to the Sporting News’ Alex Marvez, but Jackson’s ailment is nonetheless severe enough to prevent him from playing again this year. With that being the case, the Buccaneers will designate running back Charles Sims as the player they bring back from IR, per Marvez. Sims, who also suffered a knee injury last month, will be eligible to return Week 13.

Vincent Jackson

With his season over and his contract set to expire at year’s end, Jackson has perhaps played his final game with the Buccaneers. While Jackson has been highly effective with the Chargers and Bucs during his 13-year career, the three-time Pro Bowler is on the wrong end of the aging curve (34 in January) and has now seen back-to-back seasons end early because of knee injuries. Prior to going down in Week 5 this year, the 6-foot-5, 241-pound Jackson hauled in 15 receptions for 173 yards on 32 targets. During his half-decade in Tampa Bay, Jackson has totaled 268 grabs, 16.1 yards per catch (compared to just 11.5 this season) and 20 touchdowns.

Sims, meanwhile, is part of a backfield that has dealt with an absurd amount of injuries this season. Starter Doug Martin returned last Sunday from a two-plus-month absence on account of hamstring troubles, while backups Sims, Jacquizz Rodgers and Antone Smith have also missed time (Smith’s season is over). As a result, the Buccaneers rank toward the bottom of the NFL in rushing this year after finishing near the top last season with the one-two punch of Martin and Sims. Fortunately for 4-5 Tampa Bay, it appears the duo will factor in down the stretch as the club clings to slim playoff hopes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Place Vincent Jackson On IR

SUNDAY, 10:11am: It is still uncertain whether Jackson suffered a complete tear of his ACL, according to Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio (via Twitter). He will have another MRI shortly, and Cecil Shorts will get the nod in Jackson’s absence.

TUESDAY, 4:14pm: In what could be a significant blow to their offense, the Buccaneers have placed wide receiver Vincent Jackson on injured reserve with a knee issue. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times was among those to report that Jackson has a torn ACL, though ESPN’s Ed Werder suggests that it could be an MCL injury (Twitter links).

Vincent Jackson

Jackson played through the injury in the Buccaneers’ Week 5 win over the Panthers and later realized it didn’t feel right, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). The 33-year-old hauled in three catches for 36 yards against Carolina, giving him 15 receptions and 173 yards on 31 targets this season.

This could be the second straight year in which a knee ailment has ended Jackson’s season early. He missed six games in 2015 and landed on IR in December with a sprained MCL. Prior to last year, Jackson had gone four straight years without missing a game. The two-time Pro Bowler has been highly productive in his 12 combined seasons with the Chargers and Bucs, but it’s possible he’ll never put on Tampa Bay’s uniform again.

Jackson will be a free agent at season’s end, and even before his injury, second-year receiver Adam Humphries had begun taking targets from him. Still, Jackson had started in each of the Buccaneers’ first five games, and his loss will give quarterback Jameis Winston one fewer viable target. Aside from Humphries and No. 1 option Mike Evans, the Bucs aren’t flush with options at wideout, though Louis Murphy is nearing a return from the torn ACL he suffered last October.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.