Redskins Need To Stay Away From Vincent Jackson
With yesterday’s decision to reduce Vincent Jackson‘s suspension it was inevitable that the Redskins would be linked to the talented but troubled receiver. Washington’s receiving corps is among the weakest in the league, as well as being one of the smallest groups of players in the NFL. Jackson would help in both fronts, he is a 6’5″ frontline receiver that is tough to cover one-on-one. In addition, at just 27 he is in the prime of his career, and younger than the Redskins top 4 receivers (everyone but Thomas and Banks). So why is it a bad idea for the Redskins to get interested? Because they will further hurt their long term success by trading for him.
Washington has already given up their 3rd and 4th round picks for next year (they will get a 5th-7th round pick back from the Saints depending how the McNabb and Brown deals work out), after giving up their 2nd and 3rd rounders this year (for McNabb and Jarmon — who almost didn’t make the team), and 2 years after giving up their 2nd rounder for Jason Taylor (the Skins gave up a 6th rounder as well). So in summary the Redskins have given up 5 good picks over the last three drafts (including the one coming up) and have Taylor, McNabb, Brown and Jarmon to show for it. Now most people might look at that and say the Redskins did pretty well, but I look at that list and think they got throughly fleeced.
Now I will say I did support the Jarmon supplemental round draft pick at the time, though the transition to a 3-4 made that a bad pick in hindsight. I will also say that I’m a fan of the Brown deal. While he is only signed for one year and coming off an injury, he is signed for a good price for this season, $3.6 million, and is still relatively young. So a 5-year extension after this season wouldn’t be a bad deal. I also like the deal, because there was no net loss of a draft pick* (now if he plays in 90% of the offensive snaps or goes to the Pro Bowl there would be a loss of a 6th round pick). Outside of the conditional pick though the Saints will receive which ever pick (3rd or 4th round) that the Eagles don’t get (will explain in a bit). If the Saints get the 3rd round pick then they give back a 5th round pick and if they receive the 4th rounder than they give back a 6th or 7th round pick* (not sure of the condition here I’m presuming it is based off of whether it is early in the round or not). Either way the Redskins don’t ‘lose a pick’ rather they just trade back and get Brown as the compensation. While there is a value jump between the 3rd and 5th rounds or 4th and 6th or 7th, it is very preferable not to lose a draft pick.
Compare the Brown deal to the McNabb one and that is a huge win for the Redskins. In the McNabb deal the Redskins gave up their 2nd round pick (37th overall, so with the depth of that draft basically 1st round value) and either a 3rd or 4th round pick in 2011. The pick is a 3rd rounder if McNabb makes the Pro Bowl, the Redskins make the playoffs, or win at least 9 games, and will be a 4th round pick otherwise. Either way that is quite a bit of value to give up for a 33 year old quarterback, in the final year of his deal making $12 million this year. While barring an injury or something else unforeseen the Redskins will likely workout an extension with McNabb, the problem is they will likely overpay him and extend him to the point where he is no longer effective. Given his injury history I don’t see him being successful into his late 30’s, but he will obviously want a sizable commitment. While fans of McNabb will point out his immediate impact and position make him more valuable than most 2nd round picks and even many 2nd and 3rd round picks, they ignore that it is for only one season. They didn’t ‘trade’ for any extension, it wasn’t part of the deal. Meaning they gave up an awful lot for 1 season of McNabb. Especially considering this was a 4-12 team last year. Even with ‘extending him’, there is a fair probability that those two draft picks will out perform McNabb over the next 5 years (and at a much cheaper price).
What does all of that have to do with a potential Vincent Jackson deal? Well it’s simple the Redskins have already mortgaged a chunk of their future, and the last thing they should do is keep adding to that debt. Overpaying for McNabb hurt this team’s long term success probability, and doing the same for Vincent Jackson could be catastrophic. For one thing the Redskins already have to dole out extensions to McNabb and Brown after this season, so giving big money to a receiver during the year will increase their prices. And while this year there was no salary cap, that likely won’t be the case going forward. There might not be the cap room to sign all of these players (not to mention other free agents like Carlos Rodgers or Rocky McIntosh), and if you ‘find’ the room, you are likely hurting your cap in future years (aka what got the Skins in this mess in the first place). In addition, the Redskins simply can’t afford the loss of another premium pick, as I’m guessing Washington’s 2nd rounder this year (plus more) would need to be involved. 2011 is shaping up to be even a better draft class than 2010 (which was probably the best in 6 years) and the Redskins are already lacking two top 130 picks.
In addition to already giving up draft picks, Jackson is a very risky pick up. For one thing he was suspended by the league for a reason. If he has any more incidents with the law, he could be looking at a 6 game or more suspension next time. And while Jackson might not have the worst attitude in the league, he isn’t exactly the best team player as well, and frequently would make stupid penalties. So even when he does finally see the field this year, the Redskins will have a risk going forward.
The other part of this potential deal I don’t like is that you have to make the deal now (by next Wed. or he sits out longer), but he can’t suit up until Week 5. Given the Redskins upcoming schedule (Texans, Rams, and Eagles), it will be tough for them to be 2-2 by the time Jackson can suit up. And when he is ready to play, the Redskins face off against the Packers and the Colts back-to-back. While some might see this as a plus, for me it is a negative, since as we have seen in the past with receivers traded midyear (Braylon Edwards, Roy Williams) that they need some time to adjust to the offense. Jackson’s impact against the Packers and Colts (and for the next couple of weeks) will be negligible at best. The Redskins 2-2 start could easily end up being a 3-5 record heading into the bye week. Sure it’s possible that their record is better heading into their bye, but I really wouldn’t bet the farm on it, and I don’t see Jackson as the answer.
While the Redskins receiving corps needs to improve long term, trading for Jackson won’t really help solve the problem this year. So for your troubles the Redskins will give up at least one premium pick as well as a contract that will pay him $8-10 million a year for at least 5 years. That for me isn’t worth the cost in terms of both money and picks, and the potential headaches that Jackson could bring. For me Jackson might make sense if you start out 4-0 and have an easier schedule, but the Skins got a tough schedule and have to make a decision by early next week (sooner if they want to make sure they get him). Washington needs to stop acting like a Super Bowl contender and build a lasting success, to do that they need to start saying no to guys like Vincent Jackson and focus on the future.