Over the past two offseasons, the much maligned Washington Redskins front office addressed the two biggest weaknesses on the team--the offensive and defensive lines. Along the way, Danny Snyder upgraded the head coach and quarterback while adding the first general manager since Charley Casserly.
That brings wide receiver to the top of the fix-it list.
Failure to get this done cannot be laid completely at the feet of Vinny Cerrato. The Skins have tried and failed to build an elite receiving corps since Art Monk and Gary Clark retired. Desperate Redskins fans were elated with rumors of Washington's interest in San Diego wideout Vincent Jackson.
Slow down there, cowboy. There are six reasons why Jackson won't have an impact on the Redskins' 2010 season.
1. Jackson may not be available. Charger GM A.J. Smith has the inconvenient habit of not renegotiating contracts when players hold out. He will not talk trade with Jackson's camp until Jackson signs his Restricted Free Agent tender. Jackson says he'll stay out for as long as the CBA allows (10 games) and Smith is preparing the Chargers to compete without him. This impasse will end sometime, but there is no end in sight now.
2. Maybe Jackson goes to Seattle. The Seahawks are just as desperate for a wide receiver threat as the Redskins. Their No. 1 draft pick is just as good as Washington's draft pick. Bottom line: Jackson is just as likely to play for the Chargers or the Seahawks as the Redskins.
3. Jackson is only good for 13 games this season. Fortunately, it will be the last 13 games in the season. The NFL suspended Jackson for three games this season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. That means Jackson won't be available for Washington's home game against Dallas September 12.
4. Jackson missed the Redskins OTAs. That means he can't practice with the team until he passes the Shanahan conditioning test. We don't know what shape Jackson is in. Bringing him on board now adds spice to the Haynesworth stew. Mmmm, delicious.
5. Will the Jackson accept what he is worth? Not will they pay what Jackson wants; what he's worth? Jackson wants a deal comparable to Brandon Marshall's contract with Miami (four-year, $47 million, $24 million guaranteed). Jackson's value may be half to one-third less. With Washington anxious to show how they've changed, would they pay the big bucks just to land a flashy player who will solve all their problems? Would Jackson be happy with a six year, $30 million contract with $10 million guaranteed? Would he happy with that deal a year from now, if he's trumped by another wide receiver contract? Would he restructure if the Skins need to adjust to a new salary cap? Would he show up while a deal is being worked out?
6. Does Jackson fit the Redskins offense? This is the big one. The Redskins are a West Coast team. Jackson plays in a Downfield Offense team. He will have a steep learning curve when he arrives, if ever. He's missed the OTAs, is missing training camp and will miss at least three games this year. There's a price to be paid for that. The currency is time. It cannot be avoided.
Don't get the idea I'm opposed to landing Jackson. I'm all for it. He would be the best receiver on the roster. But, there's a but. However good Jackson looks on paper, adding him to the roster now won't do much for the Redskins this season.
Now 2011, that's another story.