Heading into the offseason, the San Diego Chargers wanted to retain Vincent Jackson. The Pro Bowl wide receiver was a key to stretching opposing defenses with his speed, and was one of the best underneath targets because of his hands, toughness and ability to pick up yards after the catch. Once he accepted an offer from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the search was on to try and replace everything Jackson provided.
A.J. Smith took a two-pronged approach to replacing Jackson. First he signed Robert Meachem, known from stretching defenses, to be a WR on the outside. Then he signed Eddie Royal, a prototypical slot WR that can get open underneath and make plays with the ball in his hands. Let's see how the numbers stack up through the first 6 weeks of the season.
|Vincent Jackson (2012)||20||370||4|
|Robert Meachem & Eddie Royal (2012)||25||309||3|
That seems pretty even. Now, it's time to look at money.
Jackson: 5 year, $55,555,555 contract ($13,000,000 cap hit in 2012)
Meachem & Royal (combined): 4 year, 39,400,000 contract ($6,375,000 cap hit in 2012)
That seems better. Sure, the Chargers have to take up an extra roster spot by using 2 guys to fill Vincent Jackson's shoes, but they're paying half of what Tampa Bay is paying for roughly the same output this season.