2012 NFL Free Agency: Why the Chicago Bears Must Pursue Vincent Jackson

Cody CurrieCorrespondent IIFebruary 20, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 12:  Vincent Jackson #83 of the San Diego Chargers carries the ball on a reverse against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on December 12, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears are coming off a 8-8 season that saw them lose QB Jay Cutler midseason to an injury and RB Matt Forte to a sprained MCL for the last four games of the year.  

One glaring problem the Bears have had the past few seasons is the lack of a true No. 1 receiver.  The team has been relying on Devin Hester, Johnny Knox and Roy Williams to carry the passing game, but it was Forte who led the team in both catches and receiving yards last season.  It's never a good sign when your running back leads your team in rushing and receiving yards.

Enter Vincent Jackson.

Jackson is coming off of a strong season with 60 catches for 1,106 yards and nine touchdowns.  He was selected to his second Pro Bowl last season.

He is a Pro Bowl-caliber receiver who would revolutionize the Bears offense.  He is a legitimate deep threat as well as a solid route runner who can create separation and make difficult catches in tight coverage.  

His presence would open up running room for Matt Forte, who averaged 4.9 yards per carry last season despite the team's weak passing game.  

Jackson would force defenses to respect the deep pass and Forte would flourish even more not seeing eight in the box every down.  

He would also open up the passing game for Jay Cutler, who is a former Pro Bowler himself, and his presence would create opportunities for the Bears' other receivers as well.  

He commands a double-team to be contained (unless you're Darrelle Revis or Nnamdi Asomugha), which leaves the rest of the field wide open for the rest of Chicago's offensive weapons.  

Jackson is a No. 1 receiver and will likely demand No. 1 receiver money.  

The Bears have plenty to spend this offseason, as they are projected to be about $20 million under the cap.  Jackson will likely demand somewhere in the range of $10-12 million per year and is looking for a long-term deal, something the Bears should not hesitate to offer him.  

While he has had some off-the-field problems in the past, his talent is unquestionable and his addition would give the Bears the offensive firepower they need to compete with the Packers and Lions in the NFC North.