NFL NEWS: Vincent Jackson
Trading rumors ran rampant as speculation persists with Buccaneers receiver Vincent Jackson and if the team pulls the trigger, here are some ramifications.
Mike Evans, the seventh overall choice in the 2014 NFL draft, was selected by the Bucs in hopes that he can eventually be their leading receiver. As part of the 24th overall passing attack, Evans netted 21 receptions through five games played with 258 yards and two touchdowns. He’s currently on pace to reach 688 yards and five TDs, hardly star receiver stats, according to ESPN.
Jackson, on the other hand, has caught 25 balls for 344 yards and two TDs. While it’s not dramatically different than Evans, ESPN projects him to finish with 917 yards and five TDs. Jackson will likely finish the season over 1,000 yards again as his last three seasons indicated barring injury.
Evans production is solidly behind Jackson. While suspect offensive line play is also partly to blame, Evans hasn’t shown enough that he can be the man especially in a position where depth is a concern.
Jackson and Evans contribute for 602 of the 1406 receiving yards for the team and they’re the only players who top 20 receptions. Louis Murphy is the only other Bucs wide receiver with two receiving touchdowns.
The move may stunt Evans
Evans is not stepping up to the point where he’s shaping the game. One player who benefited from a veteran presence was former first rounder Michael Clayton. That veteran presence was Raiders legend Tim Brown. Brown spent his final NFL season as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer in 2004 with his former Raider coach Jon Gruden at the helm.
While Brown bottomed out with only 200 yards receiving and one TD, Clayton flourished with 80 receptions for 1,193 yards and seven TDs. Since Clayton’s rookie season, he never topped 500 yards again.
Clayton’s lack of progress since could have been a variety of factors from inconsistent play to injuries.
Be that as it may, if Jackson goes, the Bucs do not have a Joey Galloway-like presence who can make up his production should Evans fall short of expectations.
The Bucs may come away with nothing
While head coach Lovie Smith said he’s not actively shopping his players, he is listening for offers. The Bucs should accepting nothing less than a least a first round choice and/or a couple of high round choices. Mid-late round choices have higher chances of getting cut, which in that instance, they would have given away Jackson for nothing.
You can do a one-to-one trade with another team a la the Keyshawn Johnson for Joey Galloway deal with the Dallas Cowboys. While it may be a long shot, Brandon Marshall, who recently called out his quarterback Jay Cutler, could make up that ground if the Chicago Bears had any inkling of moving him. Marshall played for Smith in his final season as Bears’ coach.
If the Bucs are to build towards better chemistry, they need as much leadership on the team as possible. Losing Jackson, one of the few bright spots on offense, would cripple an already injury-ridden team that’s also dealing with suspensions.
The NFC South is still up for grabs as a weak division. The Bucs need to take this one game at a time and the Minnesota Vikings have historically helped them with momentum when things were down.