At the Buffalo Bills end of the season press conference GM Buddy Nix stated that he felt that even if the Buffalo Bills were able to come to terms on a new contract with unrestricted FA Stevie Johnson that the Bills still needed another big play receiver. One that was “open even when he wasn’t open” Buddy Nix stated. After reviewing what receivers were going to possibly be available on the open market one of the WR’s that really stuck out to me was Vincent Jackson as he has a history with Nix. After a report surfaced from the San Diego Union-Tribune that Jackson was likely to test the open market I began to look at the relationship with the Bills GM and Jackson as well as the possibility of him being a target of the Bills.
Jackson was drafted in 2005 in the 2nd round with the 61st pick out of Northern Colorado by a scouting department that Nix was a major part of in San Diego. If you look at V-Jax numbers over the past couple seasons you can definitely see that he fits the “open when not open” criteria. 3 out of the past 4 years Jackson has averaged over 60 catches 1,000 yards and 7 TD’s per season (2010 excluded as he only played in 5 games that season). He also has averaged right at 18.0 yards per catch which is exactly what Buffalo wants. The team wants to fill the role they were hoping Donald Jones would take and run with. A big play, down field vertical threat. Vincent Jackson definitely fits that description well. Jason LaCanforna of NFL network went as far as saying he doesn’t see “anyway” Jackson returns to San Diego next season.
There will be plenty of suitors for the big play receiver if he hits the open market but having Nix can’t hurt as he was instrumental in Drayton Florence wanting to resign in Buffalo and the same can be said for Shawn Merriman not only coming to the Bills but choosing to sign a extension here (both players were draft by San Diego during Nix time with the team). Also you can’t discount the recruiting of Shawn Merriman who is sure to attempt to get Jackson in a Bills uniform as he did last season with some of Bills free agent additions from last off season.
The Bills offense is another big reason that the team could lure Jackson. In a wide open spread offense like Buffalo runs and assuming the Bills keep Steve Johnson as they have said they plan to do Jackson would see plenty of single coverage, or at least have a very good chance of getting his shots down field. With Johnson on the opposite side and almost always having 4 receivers on the field the opportunity would have to be intriguing at the least for Jackson.
Will the Bills make an offer competitive enough to sign the receiver? That is anyone’s guess but cap room would not be the problem as the Bills have the room to add a high profile free agent if they choose to do so. The Open market starts next month and things will get interesting. I think we all can agree that V-Jax would look good wearing the famous 83 jersey for the Buffalo Bills next season.