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2012 NFL Free Agents: Vincent Jackson On The Market This Year?

The St. Louis Rams have been linked to Vincent Jackson in the past. In 2010, then GM Billy Devaney tried to swing a deal for the oft-disgruntled San Diego Chargers receiver, only to be rebuffed by A.J. Smith's ridiculous asking price. A new administration at Rams Park might also get a shot at Vincent Jackson, if he hits the free agent market as many expect.

Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network said again on Wednesday that VJ is likely to reach free agency. The issue for the Chargers is whether or not they use the franchise tag to keep him. Doing so would cost them in the neighborhood of $13 million, a steep price to pay for a team that also wants to re-sign Antonio Gates and perhaps make a run at free agent Mario Williams. It is sort of a last shot for Norv Turner and Smith, who defied expectations by keeping their jobs for 2012.

San Diego will probably try and get a long-term deal with Jackson, but there's been enough acrimony there to think it might be time for him to see other places.

The Rams will have to do some creative cap jockeying if they intend to land a top free agent like Jackson. Right now, the Rams are projected to have about $10 million in cap space for 2012. They have some $30 million in 2013, but also have some big names to re-sign that season, including TST MVP Chris Long and James Laurinaitis.

One potential cap target is Jason Smith. Giving Smith das boot would save $9 million in cap room, and the team is reportedly considering such a move if Smith does not agree to a significant restructure on his contract.

Jackson would be a welcome addition to the receiver starved Rams. A cheaper option might be Brandon Lloyd, but the Patriots and Josh McDaniels could make a run at him to replace free agent Deon Branch.