One of the advantages to being an unemployed veteran this time of the year is that the tedious minutiae of organized team activities is beyond you. Teams are rolling with their current crop until after the draft before reassessing their needs and hitting the market again.
The disadvantage is that one has to be ready at all times. And free-agent wideout Vincent Jackson is letting his former team in Tampa Bay know he’s ready to return.
“I’m very dynamic as far as what I’ve done in the past throughout my career, you know, playing outside inside, having mismatches against safeties and things in the slot,” Jackson told JoeBucsFan.com when asked about how he’d fit in with Tampa’s current lineup. “So I pride myself on being a receiver that not only can just stretch the field on the outside one-on-one, but can run those intermediate routes, those third-down routes that can keep drives alive. [Coach Dirk Koetter] is a very, very smart guy. You know, I’m sure that he would put plenty of work in with Jameis and our offensive coordinator to put everybody in the best position to be successful. So, you know, there’s a lot of different things I could bring to the table.”
Jackson is 34 and missed 11 games last year with an ACL injury. The team placed him on injured reserve in early October. Jackson also finished 2015 on injured reserve with knee issues.
While this is often an NFL death sentence for receivers in their mid-30s, Jackson did have four straight 1,000-yard seasons coming into 2015. A three-time Pro Bowler, Jackson had two solid seasons in his early 30s before a string of knee issues. If nothing else, he should be on the Bucs’ radar as training camp approaches.
Given his knowledge of Koetter’s system, the Buccaneers would be an obvious choice should they suffer an injury at the position. But for other teams without much experience at wide receiver, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound receiver with that kind of wingspan could be a useful addition on long passing downs.