Vincent Jackson – Wide Receiver
At 34 years old Vincent Jackson is the oldest player on this list and more than likely the closest to retirement. Jackson is also set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and it’s doubtful he’ll be back with the Buccaneers to close out his career (check out Alan Schechter’s piece on whether Tampa should keep him or not). Still, for the time being he qualifies as a Buccaneer in my mind, and he is without question one of the very best receivers the franchise has ever had.
Jackson spent seven seasons in San Diego before joining the Bucs in 2012 as a free agent. In five seasons with the Bucs, Jackson accumulated 268 catches, 4326 yards, and 20 touchdowns. Jackson has made his career as a deep-ball specialist, winning down field with his 6’6 frame, strong hands, and exceptional leaping ability; in Jackson’s first season with Tampa he averaged 19 yards per catch and floated above 15 yards per catch in most of his other seasons.
Here’s the kicker for Jackson: Terrell Owens, one of the five most prolific pass catchers in NFL history, was just denied a Hall of Fame spot. That’s extremely disconcerting for a player like Jackson who is great in his own right, but not nearly in the same class as Owens. For Jackson to make a realistic bid, he has to find a way to put together a few more productive seasons, both from a statistical and winning stand-point.