Vincent Jackson is the third-best free agent wide receiver of all time. That, at least, is what Dan Pompei of the National Football Post says in his latest column. Going over the top 8 free agent receivers of all time, he places Vincent Jackson in third place.
A lot of receivers have gone into the tank after getting paid in free agency. In his first season in Tampa Bay, Jackson was dominant and had career numbers in catches, yards and average per catch.
With 1,384 yards, eight touchdowns and a league-leading 19.2 yards per catch last season Vincent Jackson was one of the best receivers in the league last year. But he still can't touch Jimmy Smith and Joe Horn as the best free agency pick-ups in NFL history. Joe Horn managed four Pro Bowls after joining the Saints, but Smith's production was truly ridiculous: he had eight 1,000 yard seasons with the Jaguars, who picked him up off the street, and five Pro Bowls. He can make a serious argument for having a Hall of Fame career.
But what's remarkable about Jackson in comparison with Horn and Smith is that Jackson was highly, highly paid. The free agent receivers that get huge paydays tend to underperform drastically with their new teams. Buccaneers fans know: they watched Alvin Harper get a huge payday and just walk off with awful production. But Jackson isn't that kind of player. He was as productive as he has ever been in the NFL and was a model citizen for Tampa Bay last season. Hopefully he can keep that up going forward.
If Jackson continues to live up to his pricetag, the Buccaneers will have pulled off something unique: a marquee free agent receiver who actually produces.