One of the top wide receivers expected to test the waters of free agency this year is Vincent Jackson. His current team, the San Diego Chargers, is unlikely to woo the wideout with a new contract, so their only real option to retain his services through 2012 would be via application of the franchise tag.
According to Michael Gehlken of NBC San Diego, putting the tag on Jackson will run the team in the neighborhood of $13.7 million. The team wants Jackson to stay in San Diego, but the team came to a decision in a recent meeting that applying the franchise tag would be too costly for the current state of the team this offseason.
While retaining Jackson is considered a top priority for general manager A.J. Smith, sources said Smith is "extremely uncomfortable" allocating that much money to a one-year guaranteed deal. A tag late in the designation period is not beyond possibility, but ultimately, the chances are said to be "highly unlikely."
The team is expected to instead put the money toward patching holes in its defense and its offensive line. The Chargers have until March 5 to decide whether to place a franchise tag on an impending free agent. Free agency begins on March 13.
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