The first week of free agency has passed, and the frenzy is dying down. That seems like a good point to look back on a furious week and examine what the Bucs did. Let's start with the positive sides of Vincent Jackson.
1. The Bucs needed a number one receiver, and signed the only one on the market.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a need at receiver this season. They have a collection of young, talented and underperforming wide receivers - receivers with good skillsets, but none of them could perform as a true number one receiver in an offense. None of them had been capable of producing big plays on a remotely consistent basis - and whether Mike Williams or Arrelious Benn can ever develop into that kind of player remains a possibility, but does not seem likely.
So, the Bucs needed to add a receiver to help out Josh Freeman. A receiver who could produce big plays, with enough speed to force safeties back and create room for the passing game on shorter passes. Vincent Jackson was the only receiver in free agency consistently capable of this sort of production, and Tampa Bay went out and got him.
2. Vincent Jackson's wide catching radius will help Josh Freeman
The best thing Vincent Jackson does is catch contested balls, using his large body to get in position and shield the defender from the ball. A pass doesn't have to be perfect for Jackson to make the catch, as he has the ability to adjust and still make the catch. This was something that was sorely lacking for the Buccaneers in 2011, and as Freeman's play continued to worsen throughout the season the receivers were incapable of bailing him out.
Part of the reason why the Bucs had a more successful passing game in 2010 than they did in 2011 was the ability of Kellen Winslow and Mike Williams to go up and make tough catches. Williams seemed to completely lose that ability in 2011, instead flailing wildly with his arms in the hopes of getting a pass interference call that never came. Winslow still could make some tough catches, but his declining speed and inability to consistently separate made that aspect of his game largely irrelevant.
But the Bucs have brought in some help for their young quarterback. They've put him in position to succeed - and if he can't succeed now, he won't have any excuses to fall back on.
3. Touchdowns, touchdowns, touchdowns
One thing was lacking on offense more than anything else last season: red zone production. The Bucs couldn't figure out how to get the ball in the endzone. They couldn't run it in, they couldn't pass it in - they couldn't even fumble it in. Vincent Jackson helps in that respect as well. Any time you bring in a 6'3", 241 lbs. receiver you add a potential red zone threat, and Jackson can certainly be that player for the Bucs.
Jackson has 37 touchdown catches in his career, which amounts to one touchdown for every 7 passes he has caught. That's not overwhelming production, but it's not bad either - and throughout his tenure with the San Diego Chargers he was behind Antonio Gates as the premier red zone target in that offense. That should change in Tampa Bay, and Jackson would really help the Bucs' anemic red zone offense.