If the San Diego Chargers are unable to re-sign unrestricted free agent Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston would be a great replacement. Jackson played in at least 15 games in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. In these 63 games, Jackson has caught 228 passes for 3,994 yards and 28 touchdowns. In this same time span, Colston has caught 295 passes for 4,179 yards and 33 touchdowns while appearing in 57 games. I took out their 2010 stats because Jackson only played five games that season.
Drew Brees and Carl Nicks are two of the top free agents available. One would have to believe that re-signing Brees and Nicks will not leave much money on the table for Colston. Jimmy Graham’s contract will expire in two years, so it would be difficult for New Orleans to pay Brees, Nicks, Colston and Graham. Colston stands at 6-4, 225 pounds while Jackson is 6-5 and 230 pounds, so the Chargers would not lose a significant amount of size by going from Jackson to Colston.
Colston appears to be a realistic option if San Diego is unable to re-sign Jackson. Colston and Jackson will be 29 years old when the 2012 NFL season starts, so age will not be a factor. The Chargers need to add a pass rusher, have issues with their offensive line and a problem at strong safety, so it would not make much sense to go after both of these players. The re-signing of Jackson or the free agent acquisition of Colston would give Philip Rivers his big target on offense at the wide receiver position.