December 18, 2011; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) avoids a tackle by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith (22) during the first quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 34-14 Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Free Agency: V-Jax a Bucanneer, Other Notable Signings


With the beginning of each NFL year every team instantly gets worse as player contracts officially expire. It’s a fact. Shoot, look at Indy. What the front office DOES about it is another matter, however, and most teams wind up re-signing a lot of their own reserve players to ensure depth or to possibly compete for a starting position. Others go out and pay up for a star player.

Yesterday, Tampa Bay did just that in signing former Charger wideout Vincent Jackson to a 5-year deal. The Chargers replaced him with former Saint Robert Meachum and the “other” Jackson (DeSean) will very likely sign his franchise tender in Philly. Indy re-signed Reggie Wayne to a 3-year contract so there goes the so-called Manning and Wayne Free Agency “deal.” Ex-Colt Pierre Garcon and ex-Niner Josh Morgan will be catching balls from RG3 in Washington, suddenly giving the Redskins some firepower when you consider Santana Moss and Fred Davis. They kept DE Adam Carriker within their ranks as well, so look for the Skins to hit that O-Line early, often, and hard in April’s draft. Well, often and hard, anyway. Mike Shanahan is a cagey guy and he’s not-so-quietly building what looks to be one of the league’s more exciting teams this fall. Who would’ve guessed it a week ago?

The NFC West is trying to “keep up with the Jacksons” as the 49′ers held onto Pro Bowl Free Agent CB Carlos Rogers while the Rams signed Cortland Finnegan. I should’ve seen that last move coming as the Rams were desperate for corners and their new Head Coach, Jeff Fisher, is quite familiar with Finnegan’s wake from their days together in Music City. Every year there are several moves after which you go “DUH” and do the V-8 head-slap. Upon reflection, the Brandon Marshall trade is another as he’s reunited with his former QB, only in a 3rd city – Chicago. Given any one of several of Marshall’s outgoing personalities, the Windy City seems perfectly suited for him metaphorically speaking. Though he wasn’t a Free Agent, the upshot of the deal is Miami lost their best receiver and Chicago finally got their best wideout since the Willie Gault days. DAAAA Bearssss also signed QB Jason Campbell as an insurance policy in case their own line performs like KC’s did last season, but that would mean drafting a rookie QB for 3rd string and eventual starting duty later this year so they better choose wisely.

The biggest names unsigned remain Manning, Matt Flynn, and Super Mario. Where does this leave us? Pretty much right back where we started – watching every move Peyton Manning makes. I say look to where Brandon Marshall originally played.

Tags: Brandon Marshall Cortland Finnegan DeSean Jackson Jeff Fisher Pierre Garcon Robert Meachum Vincent Jackson