The NFL trade deadline is fast approaching and one of the names being rumored as available is Buccaneers receiver Vincent Jackson. Jackson’s name is one that I have thrown around here for over a month due once it was clear that Tampa Bay was not going to fire this season.
Though big trades in the NFL are rare, especially during the season, Jackson is the perfect candidate. He is still productive, but at 31 years old will likely not have many top seasons left in him, which may not be the best fit for the Bucs moving forward. He does not seem as productive in this offense which has not really featured his best trait of going vertical down the field. He is putting up the lowest numbers of his career in terms of YPC, but that has improved over the last two games with Mike Glennon at QB. So if the Bucs will look elsewhere in 2015 its best to get something in return for him.
A team that acquires Jackson would be responsible for 9/17 of his $10 million base salary, which amounts to $5,294,118 in salary. Since he would replace someone on the roster a team would need about $5.1 million in cap space just to execute the trade. Jackson’s 2015 salary is a non-guaranteed $9.777 million salary so a team could also consider prorating some of this years salary to make the deal work within the salary cap. Though the Buccaneers often work with all cash contracts, the Bucs prorated a large amount of money with Jackson in 2012 as preparation to make a move on Darrelle Revis in 2013. The dead money charge for the Bucs in 2015 would be $4.864 million.
The competitive teams in the NFL that could need a wide receiver and also have the cap room to execute the trade would be the following:
For the Chiefs such a move would likely be a one year rental. They have a very tight salary cap situation in 2015 and need to re-sign Justin Houston, so taking on any additional salary would compromise their future. Seattle just traded away Percy Harvin which created the room they would need if they wanted to bring in a true vertical threat like Jackson and work him into their system. Philadelphia would be an interesting landing spot as they have been overly reliant on Jeremy Maclin and Jackson would give them a devastating group of players at the position.
Harvin, a disgruntled and overpaid player, was traded to the Jets for a 6th round pick that could escalate to a 4th rounder based on contract status. A few years back the Patriots acquired a 33 year old Chad Johnson from the Bengals for a 5th and 6th round pick. Jackson is younger and more productive than Johnson but probably does not have the long term upside of a Harvin. I would lean towards most teams considering no higher than a 4th round pick for him or maybe a conditional 3rd rounder. I would be pretty surprised if Tampa received close to their rumored asking price of a 2nd round pick.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.