Vincent Jackson will be one of the most prized targets once free agency begins Tuesday, and it appears there's already a surprising clubhouse leader in the race to sign the wideout.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reportedly have the inside track to land Jackson, a league source recently told the Chicago Sun-Times, while the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins are thought to be among the serious contenders for Jackson's services.
A return to the San Diego Chargers has not been ruled out for Jackson -- who has 272 receptions for 4,754 yards with 37 touchdowns in seven seasons with the Chargers -- but team sources told the Sun-Times that his market price could be too rich for the Chargers.
Jackson was a candidate for the franchise tag, but the Chargers ultimately decided to pass on tagging Jackson for a second straight season, opening speculation that Jackson could suit up for a new team in 2012.
"Vincent will enter the market, and we will see what happens. We would like to have him continue on with us, but other teams now will enter the picture," Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said last week. âWe will now evaluate our contract proposal, and proceed accordingly.â