Kevin Acee Tweeted that the Chargers recently said No to a trade inquiry about Vincent Jackson. There has been speculation that the 6’5” receiver could be dealt to the Seahawks (though it’s mere speculation).
But what about Jackson’s fellow RFA holdout, left tackle Marcus McNeil? When he’s playing with sound technique and awareness, the fifth-year pro is one of the most demonstrative left tackles in the game. McNeil has the resounding strength to be a mauling run-blocker and the athleticism to neutralize defensive ends on an island in pass protection. Of course, he’s been inconsistent in recent years, perhaps in part because of injuries.
A while back, there were faint whispers that McNeil could be dealt to the Colts. Don’t expect Colts president Bill Polian to pull that trigger. (And don’t expect Charger GM A.J. Smith to do that either, considering Indy is in San Diego’s path to a Super Bowl.)
Let’s run through some possible destinations for McNeil. The Redskins just traded for Jammal Brown and are out of the offensive tackle market. The Cowboys might be nervous about Doug Free replacing Flozell Adams, but they’d likely give newcomer Alex Barron a look before making any trade. The Bears and Lions both need help at tackle (so do the Vikings, though they’d never admit it considering how much money they’ve paid Bryant McKinnie). The Bears are probably leery about trading more high-round draft picks at this point; the Lions have no reason not to take McNeil for anything less than a second-rounder.
In the AFC, the only team needing serious help at offensive tackle that A.J. Smith would be willing to trade with is Buffalo. Currently, the Bills are banking on under-qualified second-year pro Demetrius Bell to rebound from a serious knee injury and man the left side.
This all just speculation, of course. Smith is willing to play hardball and would not be against trading a left tackle in his prime. But he’s probably not against holding onto McNeil and waiting this out. The Chargers claim they’re happy with McNeil’s replacement, veteran Tra Thomas, but the 35-year-old was clearly broken down as a Jaguar last season. That said, Philip Rivers is one of the few quarterbacks in the league who is good enough to single-handedly compensate for offensive line woes.
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