Buccaneers place Vincent Jackson on injured reserve with ACL injury

Vincent Jackson's season might be over. What happens next for the 33-year-old receiver who is in the final year of his contract with the Buccaneers is unknown.

On Tuesday, the Buccaneers announced they have placed Jackson on injured reserve with an ACL injury suffered during a win over the Panthers on Oct. 10. His season might be over with just 15 catches, 173 yards and zero touchdowns.

But, according to ESPN's Ed Werder, Jackson didn't definitively tear his ACL. So, there's a chance he could return down the stretch.

"This is obviously very disappointing for me personally," Jackson said, per the team's website. "I had high hopes for this season because I know what we are capable of accomplishing as a team. My top priority going into every season is being out there with my teammates and helping my team any way possible. While I may not be on the field for the foreseeable future, I will be focused on beginning my rehab as soon as possible and finding ways to support my teammates in whatever way I can."

Jackson is a free agent after the season. At that point, he'll be 34 and coming off an ACL injury. Those kinds of free agents aren't popular, even free agents with resumes like Jackson's.

Jackson, who began his career with the Chargers in 2005, has 540 receptions, 9,080 yards, and 57 touchdowns. With the Buccaneers from 2012-14, Jackson balled out by averaging roughly 73 catches, 1,203 yards and six touchdowns per season. Yet, his production dipped in 2015 and so far this season.

Despite his lack of production, Jackson will be tough to replace given he was another big-bodied target for the inaccurate Jameis Winston.

"Any time you lose a player and team leader of Vincent's caliber, it is a setback for your team," said coach Dirk Koetter. "Vincent is a very tough-minded player and a great competitor. Even though he doesn't recall when he injured his knee, he was still out there the entire game and made two crucial catches on our final drive to set up the game-winning field goal. I know that being placed on injured reserve is difficult for him, but I also know he will maintain a strong presence in our locker room and will help our younger guys prepare and develop because that's the type of team-first leader he is."

Without Jackson on the field expect Winston to continue targeting Mike Evans at a high rate. He's tied for the third-most targets in the league with 62. Also expect Adam Humphries to get more involved -- he's caught 20 passes so far.

At 2-3, the Buccaneers' season is already on the brink. So, they can't afford many more slip-ups.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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