AFC West: On the Radar 61010

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A player, coach or issue that should be on your radar as training camp approaches.

The Chargers are looking at a potential issue at receiver if star Vincent Jackson holds out into the season.

[+] EnlargeVincent Jackson
Harry How/Getty Images The contract situation between Vincent Jackson and the Chargers could get ugly.
Jackson is a restricted free agent who has not signed his tender. The Chargers are expected to reduce the tender offer to Jackson next Tuesday, which is the deadline to reduce a restricted free agent's salary to 110 percent of the previous season’s salary if they don’t sign their tender. Standout left tackle Marcus McNeill also could hold out as a restricted free agent.

Jackson probably will stay away from the team until he gets a long-term deal. That does not seem to be on the team’s radar. San Diego general manager A.J. Smith is not intimidated by players or their actions. Thus, this situation has the potential to get ugly.

The Chargers would surely miss Jackson. He has developed into one of the better receivers in the NFL and is Philip Rivers’ favorite target. Jackson had 68 catches last season, averaging 17.2 yards per grab. He is a matchup nightmare and has terrific size and speed.

The San Diego offense would survive without Jackson but it would certainly lose an important element. The team would have to rely heavily on young receivers Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee and Craig Davis. Floyd and Naanee are quality players while Davis has been dealing with injuries.

If Jackson misses time, expect the Chargers to use tight ends Antonio Gates and Randy McMichael and running backs Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles even more in the passing game.

As we get closer to training camp, it looks more and more like the idea of playing without Jackson could become a reality.

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