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Will San Diego Chargers WR Vincent Jackson Test Free Agency?

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It's the offseason and, with most teams set with their coaching staffs, we've hit one of the lulls where news isn't breaking and probably won't be breaking for a few weeks. So, what is the NFL media to do? Break opinions!

While Vincent Jackson maintains he would like to stay in San Diego, and GM A.J. Smith is reportedly now "comfortable" exploring a long-term deal, NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora isn't betting on it.

"I don't see any way he's back there," La Canfora said Tuesday on "NFL Total Access."

"The Chargers won't franchise him, they've come out and said that."

Source

I suppose I should throw my opinion out there as well. I think whether or not the San Diego Chargers sign back Jackson rests on the outcome of the Marcus McNeill (and Kris Dielman) situation If one or both of those guys are gone, it frees up some money and just about forces them to use their first-round pick on an offensive lineman. If they're both back, there's no money and the team could try and replace Jackson with a WR in the first round.

Seeing as how McNeill leaving seems downright likely at this point, and the San Diego front office is desperate to be in the playoffs in 2012, I think Jackson returns and gets that long-term, big-money contract that he wants.

Considering the Chargers have said that they will not franchise Jackson, and he'll be the most heavily sought after WR on the market, there's little chance that they could get a discount on VJ. After waiting for so long, the Chargers might find themselves bowing out of an intense bidding war even if they do decide that they'd like to offer him a long-term deal. That's the bad news. The good news is that Jackson will have a contract with someone by time the NFL Draft rolls around, allowing San Diego to plan and draft accordingly.

However, the simple fact that the Chargers have said that they will not franchise Jackson is surprising. They certainly need him in the offense (Vincent Brown is the best WR-that-can-stay-healthy behind him). It leads me to believe that both sides are confident that a deal can be reached. Fingers crossed.