The San Diego Chargers have placed the franchise tag on a repeat offending drunk driver, claiming that his value as a wide receiver justifies spending a bit over $10 million to keep him on the team and assuming that he can stay out of jail for the entire year. I evaluated the passing statistics for Philip Rivers in the eleven games prior to Vincent Jackson rejoining the team last year, versus the five games in which he participated, and the facts do not seem to support the assumption that he is vital to the team's success.
Rivers had a completion percentage of 66.2% without Jackson, 69.6% after he returned. That is certainly an improvement, but a marginal one at best, and things break down rather badly after that.
Average passing yards per game was 305 yards without Jackson, 269 yards after his return. Average yards per completed pass was 13.5 yards without Jackson, more than a yard less at 12.4 yards per completion after he returned. Philip Rivers averaged 2.09 touchdown passes per game with Jackson not on the field, a mere 1.4 per game with Jackson participating.
Whatever the reasons for the Charger losses, our passing game was not the problem and it's hard to see how Vincent Jackson is the key to taking the team to the Super Bowl.