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Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Vincent Jackson free-agent primer

By Bill Williamson

San Diego Chargers Pro Bowl receiver Vincent Jackson will be one of the most sought after free agents. Here is what to expect from the process:

Quiet until Tuesday: It would be a surprise if Jackson signs an extension with the Chargers before free agency begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. Jackson has been looking forward to testing the open market for a long time. The only way he’d sign with the Chargers is if they gave him a deal that is much higher than expected. The team has no plans to do so. The Chargers are resigned to letting Jackson shop himself before making their pitch.

Are the Chargers out of the running? Not at all. If Jackson had his choice, he’d stay in San Diego. While he will likely not accept a hometown discount, but he’ll listen to what San Diego has to say.

How much will Jackson get? He is expected to average between $10-12 million a season. His contract will be in the five year, $50-million plus range.

Will the three other AFC West teams get involved? I don’t think so. There has been talk the Raiders could show interest, but I Oakland have cap limitations and other needs.

Who are the favorites to land Jackson? Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, New England and Buffalo could all make a play for Jackson.

Will it be a long process? I wouldn’t be shocked if Jackson is signed within the first 24 hours of free agency. There will be a race for his services. Don’t expect Jackson to conduct a tour of the league. If you hear Jackson is going on a visit, it will likely mean a deal is imminent.