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Vincent Jackson: Josh Freeman is among the top five quarterbacks in the NFL

Vincent Jackson is excited to be playing in Tampa Bay, which is lovely because I’m sure the fans are happy to have him. Jackson signed a five-year contract worth slightly over $55 million over the offseason, so it is hardly surprising that he has only positive things to say as he begins his new journey with the Buccaneers. That being said, there’s a very fine line between being enthusiastic and delusional. V-Jack may have crossed it with his recent comments about Josh Freeman.

“We were a little more flashy as far as the names go (in San Diego), but I think we’re just as talented here all the way across the board,” Jackson said Monday according to the Tampa Bay Times. “We have tight ends, running backs and obviously, Josh Freeman, and he’s a quarterback I think should be mentioned among the top five in the league.”

That would mean Freeman’s name is somewhere in the mix with Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers — wait, why am I even entertaining this argument? Freeman has surprised many people with his ability to manage games in Tampa and lead fourth-quarter comebacks, but he has a very, very long way to go before we even begin mentioning him in that discussion.

If Jackson can find a way to stay healthy, he will certainly give Freeman a credible deep threat and do a great deal to help him improve. But with or without V-Jack, the fourth-year quarterback is nowhere near the top five in the NFL.

Helmet smack to Pro Football Talk
Photo credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Chargers sign Robert Meachem after losing Vincent Jackson to Bucs

The Chargers lost Vincent Jackson in free agency Tuesday but tried to make up for it by signing Robert Meachem. San Diego is paying Meachem $14 million guaranteed on a four-year $25.9 million deal. Vincent Jackson signed a five-year $55 million deal with the Buccaneers and $26 million is guaranteed. I have to say, I don’t like either deal very much.

Both players’ stats were inflated by their systems and quarterbacks. While Jackson will give Tampa Bay a weapon in the passing game, he is just a luxury for a team with many more pressing needs. The Bucs need an improved line, running game, and the biggest area they need to address is their defense. I thought Jackson benefited from Norv Turner’s system, the amount of threats in the Chargers’ passing game, and Philip Rivers’ accuracy/ability to throw the deep ball. I envision his stats dropping off with Tampa Bay.

Similarly, Robert Meachem was a system player in New Orleans. The Saints run 3-5 receivers per passing play and Drew Brees is an expert at finding the open man. Meachem racked up plenty of touchdowns in New Orleans (20 the past three seasons) mostly because he was a forgotten third or fourth option on the field. He didn’t have to beat one-on-one coverage or double-teams consistently. San Diego is paying and asking him to be their No. 1 receiver, and I don’t believe he is one.

I would have preferred to see Jackson sign elsewhere, and for the Chargers to have gone after a better receiving option.