AFRO Sports Desk Face-off
by Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley
Special to the NNPA from The Afro-American Newspaper
Riley: If I’m Jackson, I would try to entertain a role as the continued favorite target of Michael Vick in New York. While their time in Philadelphia was short-lived, both Vick and Jackson made it count during an explosive tenure. The glaring lights of New York should be enough to flirt with any prestigious free agent and with Jackson still in his prime and still holding a connection to the former Eagles signal caller, a reunion in the Big Apple doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. New York and Jets head coach Rex Ryan definitely wouldn’t have a problem bringing in a talented, but perhaps troubled receiver. They made the same move to acquire former Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes in 2010. Despite an 8-8 record, New York played with some poise last season but the lack of weapons stalled the offense too often. New York’s already signed former Bronco receiver Eric Decker so pairing him with Jackson could be dynamite.
Green: No team fresh off a winning season last year has a more dire need for a receiver than the Carolina Panthers. Strong-armed signal caller Cam Newton just lost his best receiver in Steve Smith. Ironically enough, Jackson fits the same mold as a super-fast, diminutive, but aggressive wide-out. With both men in the prime of their careers, a relationship could be intriguing considering the strides that Philadelphia made last season. The Jets aren’t going anywhere no matter who starts at quarterback, whether it’s Vick or Geno Smith. The Panthers have already proved they’re going places. Signing with an emerging Carolina team makes the most sense for the displaced Jackson.
Riley: Carolina would definitely be an option but the relationship that Jackson already has with Vick could be the deciding factor. Jackson isn’t going to sign some mega deal after the team just cut him for behavioral issues so playing under a one-year, incentives-based contract makes the most sense so he can try to parlay that into a bigger deal the following season. It would be similar to the path former Buccaneer Aqib Talib followed after his jettison in Tampa Bay to his revival in New England to his spanking new mega-contract in Denver. Vick’s already under a one-year deal and would like nothing more to make noise for a year and turn that into one last deal. With a desperate Vick and a need of both to prove themselves, the traditional warm-up period would be nonexistent between the former teammates, allowing the both of them to get straight to the point and start putting up numbers.
Green: He could take the same type of deal down to Carolina. He wouldn’t have the familiarity with Newton as his new trigger man but I’m sure the two would hit it off immediately. I honestly wouldn’t mind him coming to “Chocolate City,” D.C. and signing with Washington. He would be just the explosive player Robert Griffin III could use in this new explosive offense new head coach Jay Gruden is supposed to be installing. I just rather see Jackson link up with a younger star quarterback that he can establish a long-term relationship with. Regardless, Jackson is one of my favorite receivers in the NFL to watch so I’ll be watching him wherever he goes.