SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 11: Wide Receiver Vincent Jackson #83 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates a catch against the Buffalo Bills during their NFL Game on December 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have certainly put their salary cap space to good use in free agency so far, as the Bucs have signed what could be the prize of this free agency class in wide receiver Vincent Jackson. The team confirmed the move via twitter, noting that the receiver signed on a five-year deal.
Vincent Jackson was perhaps the only true number one receiver on the market. The 6'5", 230 lb receiver can stretch the field vertically and act as the focal point of any passing game, as he did for several years in San Diego. The Buccaneers receiving corps struggled to gain separation and simply catch passes last season, as opposing defenses preyed on the short routes the Bucs passing game was based on. With a 17.5 yards per catch average over his seven years in the NFL, Jackson should be the deep threat the Bucs have been looking to open up the passing game.
There are, of course, some concerns regarding Jackson's signing. For one, the receiver is 29 years old, and that means he won't be in the prime of his career for much longer. More importantly, perhaps, the receiver has been somewhat inconsistent on a game-to-game basis, although part of that is due to the way he was used.
Jackson represents the first major free agent to sign with the Buccaneers since Jon Gruden was fired after the 2008 season. The Bucs said they would spend this offseason, and they certanly have. The Bucs aren't done spending, either, as the team is reportedly scheduling a visit with free agent guard Carl Nicks later this week, and has been reported to be in the chase for Curtis Lofton, Cortland Finnegan and other free agents.