Veteran wide receiver Vincent Jackson has played a huge role in Jameis Winston’s rookie season. He was a reliable target on the field and you see him on the sidelines and in practices always communicating with the 21-year-old gun slinger. He’s also been important to the growth and maturation of wide receiver Mike Evans.
But all that may come to an end soon.
Jackson is due nearly $10 million in 2016 and according to PewterReport.com’s Scott Reynolds, the team may hesitate to bring back the 11-year veteran.
If the Bucs cut wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who will be 33 in January, it would save Tampa Bay close to $10 million. The Bucs don’t want to pay the aging receiver the $9.7 million base salary he’s due in 2016, which is the last year of his contract, but the offense functioned much better with Jackson in the lineup.
As Reynolds later points out in his article, the team could approach Jackson to take a pay cut. But would that be a smart move?
Jackson is no stranger to pay cuts. He has done it before to allow for others to remain on the team back in the Mark Dominik days. And just 10 months ago he was reportedly a candidate to take a pay cut again but did not and remained on the team.
So what happens this time around if he declines once again? What will the team do?
Many are saying to move on from Jackson due to his age. They see his injuries this season as a precursor of him beginning to break down. That is certainly a concern but Jackson has yet to miss a game since coming to Tampa Bay and has posted a 1,000-yard season in his first three years in pewter. That’s not to see he won’t be injured again. That’s saying he has been a reliable member of the team — in many different aspects — that perhaps some are forgetting.
It’s a situation the team will undoubtedly have to make a difficult decision on. Jackson’s importance to the growth of Evans and Winston can not go unnoticed. He deserves the salary owed to him for that reason alone.