Vincent Jackson was drafted in 2005 but has yet to hit free agency thanks to a combination of the rule changes in the CBA as the lockout approached and the San Diego Chargers' use of the franchise tag. Jackson, 28, is expected to enter negotiations with the team on a long term contract.
The San Diego Union Tribune reports that Chargers GM A.J. Smith is now "comfortable" with potentially giving Jackson a long-term deal. Jackson's prior arrests for DUI had reportedly made Smith leery of signing him to a long term deal so the team placed the franchise tag on him last year, which cost over $11 million. To place it on him again it would cost over $13 million, which the report states the team is unlikely to do.
The two sides are expected to begin talking sometime after the Super Bowl.
As the San Diego Union Tribune writes, it's probably time to reward Jackson. He, as much as any other player, has been hampered by the system. He was part of the group of players who would've been free agents if not for the rule changes in the expiring CBA last year. So at age 28 he has yet to secure a long term contract (although $11 million for one season isn't bad money if you can get it).
Check out SB Nation's Bolts From The Blue where they're exploring potential franchise tag players on the Chargers.