NFL teams are allotted a few weeks to try and work out long-term deals with their free-agents before panicking and slapping those players with franchise tags. Since February 20th, the San Diego Chargers have held back from franchising Vincent Jackson for a second consecutive season. They've said that they won't place the tag on him and will instead allow him to hit unrestricted free agency and test out those waters.
However, with a little less than 3 hours left before the 1pm Pacific deadline to do so, A.J. Smith and the Chargers' front office could still change their minds. Remember when the team said that they would not tag Darren Sproles before the 2010 season, only to cave and slap the franchise tag on him at the last minute? That could happen again, this time with Jackson, if Smith and Norv Turner don't believe that the team can make the playoffs without VJax in 2012.
Even with the retirement of Kris Dielman and the impending release of Luis Castillo, and probably Marcus McNeill as well, franchising Jackson would essentially take the Chargers out of the running for any other "big fish" free agents out there (like Mario Williams) because of a lack of salary cap room this year.