Vincent Jackson is now free to move about the country.
On Monday the San Diego Chargers were one of only 11 teams not to exercise their franchise tag (which binds a player to the team for one year as long as certain conditions are met), and as a result, Jackson, one of the team’s top wide receivers, will be an unrestricted free agent on March 13th.
While the Chargers would like to keep Jackson in San Diego, they used the tag on him last year and doing so again would require a salary-cap figure of about $13.7 million.
“We discussed it again this morning, and nothing changed. We did not like the franchise number, never did,” Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said in a statement. “Vincent will enter the market, and we will see what happens. We would like to have him continue on with us, but other teams now will enter the picture.”
ESPN reports that some of those other teams include the San Francisco 49ers, the New York Jets, the Washington Redskins, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Chicago Bears.
Jackson, as reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune, is ranked first in the NFL in average catch yardage over the past four seasons. During that span, he has hauled in 201 receptions for 3,619 yards, despite his 2010 holdout that kept him off of the field for 11 games.
In the 2011 season Vincent Jackson caught 60 passes for 1,106 yards – his third 1,000 yard campaign in the last four years – and 9 touchdowns.
NBC’s PFT Live talks about Vincent Jackson’s future in the video below: