What Cortland Finnegan and Vincent Jackson would mean to Tampa Bay Buccaneers
That was the Tweet heard around Tampa earlier and one which has all Buccaneers fans on the edge of their seats. If Jason Cole’s report is true, Tuesday will be one Bucs fans have not had since the signing of Kellen Winslow. It is important to note that Vincent Jackson’s agent Neil S. Schwartz did sound genuinely surprised when I asked him about any validation to the rumor. Mr. Schwartz advised me to “(ask) Jason bout that” and that “he had no information on the subject”. However, that does not mean it is not true. With free agency not officially starting until Tuesday it would be a shock if there was confirmation. Also, Jason Cole has an array of sources I could only dream of so while the rumor is leaning to the side of true, it does warrant keeping some reservations. As Buccaneers fan’s we’ve all been there before in terms of big name free agents. Still, imagining what could be with the additions of Vincent Jackson and Cortland Finnegan is something Bucs fans can hold on to. It just feels like a season destined for optimism instead of the normal “who knows” attitude.
Vincent Jackson: If Vincent Jackson were to keep sunshine a priority, the San Diego receiver would bring with him a litany of professional accomplishments. In 7 seasons, Jackson has produced 37 touchdowns, 4754 yards and an average of 17.5 yards per reception. According to statistics, no Bucs receiver has ever averaged more than 17.2 yards per reception or topped 34 touchdowns in their career with the Bucs. In case you are wondering, Kevin House holds the YPR record and Jimmie Giles owns the touchdowns total. Vincent Jackson would come in as the most established wide receiver the Bucs have seen since Keyshawn Johnson. It would also mean Mike Williams or Arrelious Benn would be moving to the slot position, giving the Buccaneers one of the most threatening receiving corps in the NFL.
Cortland Finnegan: Finnegan carries a reputation of being a physical corner whom gets in the heads of his opponents. In six seasons, Finnegan has intercepted 14 passes and amassed 389 tackles. In both categories Finnegan does not even come in as a top ten in terms of Buccaneers career marks, but he is by far ahead of the curve in comparison to anyone not named Ronde Barber. The combination of Finnegan and Barber or Claiborne would instantly upgrade a secondary which ranked 21st against the pass in 2011.
The knock on both players is their age. Vincent Jackson is 29 years old and Cortland Finnegan is 28 years of age. Each guy is on borrowed time but should have at minimum 3 seasons left in them. That is more than enough time to mentor the Bucs youthful roster and make a run at the playoffs. Other than Ronde Barber, the Bucs have lacked a core veteran presence capable of leading a locker room. If both of these players do sign and make the rumor true, it will be the first time the Bucs have had such a presence since the departure of Keyshawn Johnson and John Lynch. Both were cut in 2003 season coincidentally and now the Bucs can bring two veterans in capable of replacing their leadership. All we have to do now is keep our fingers crossed and pray Jason Cole is the soothsayer we believe him to be. No pressure.