Updated March 14, 2012 @ 3:59 a.m. ET
The Buccaneers have made the first major splash of free agency, signing WR Vincent Jackson to a five-year deal on Tuesday evening. The deal is for $55 million, with $36 million guaranteed over the first three years.
Jackson, who ranked seventh on PFW's list of the top 100 free agents, brings the big-play abilities the Bucs lacked a season ago. The receiver stands 6-foot-5 and has averaged more than 15 yards per reception in each of his seven NFL seasons. In 2011 he posted 60-1,106-9 for the Chargers.
The Bucs, who are now under new head coach Greg Schiano, struggled last season to strike big. They had just six passes go for 40 or more yards, tied for 26th in the NFL. Jackson himself had four 40-plus yard plays a year ago.
The way we see it
The Buccaneers are trying to build around QB Josh Freeman, and adding Jackson helps them do that. He will be a great addition to a receiving corps that already includes TE Kellen Winslow and WRs Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn.
Jackson has had some off-field issues, and some have questioned his work ethic, so there is some concern that this could be a costly mistake for the Buccaneers.
Vincent Jackson finally got the payday he's been dreaming of the last few years, but with a reputation of not having a strong work ethic, will he be the next Alvin Harper? If you don't know who Harper was, my point is proven!
Jackson's payday is $55 million, with $36 million guaranteed over the first three years. I'm one of those who believe there's a good chance Jackson's the next Harper, now that he's seen his payday, and I'll avoid him in drafts. That is pure speculation on my part, and if you believe he will perform, that's just as legitimate as my take because no one knows which Jackson will show up.
I've repeatedly stated perception is reality, and although Jackson, as a Charger, ended with 60-1,106-9 receiving on 115 targets last season, he was inconsistent. His per-game average of 3.8 catches for 69.1 yards and 0.6 TDs looks good, but he had eight games with 49 yards or fewer. Despite his nine TDs, he went scoreless in 10 other games. Five of his TDs came in two contests, and although he was huge in total-point leagues, fantasy owners need better consistency from someone who is a potentially elite wideout.
He'll be a coveted fantasy draft pick and comes in as a No. 1 fantasy WR, but understand his pros and cons if you target him.
— William Del Pilar