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Posted at 10:52 PM ET, 03/05/2012

Vincent Jackson not given franchise tag by Chargers, opening door for Redskins to pursue

Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson and tight end Antonio Gates celebrate during a game. (Stephan Savoia - Associated Press)
Wide receiver Vincent Jackson was not given the San Diego Chargers’ franchise player tag by Monday’s deadline.

That leaves Jackson available to be pursued on the unrestricted free agent market by the Washington Redskins and other teams. The free agent market opens March 13.

The Redskins appear intent upon signing a high-profile wideout in free agency, and productive receivers remain available in abundance even after NFL teams handed out a total of 21 franchise tags before the league-wide deadline Monday afternoon.

Three wide receivers were given franchise-player designations: DeSean Jackson by the Philadelphia Eagles, Wes Welker by the New England Patriots and Dwayne Bowe by the Kansas City Chiefs. They remain eligible to negotiate with other teams in free agency. But their teams can retain them by matching any offer sheets they sign with other clubs. And if any of those players is allowed to depart for a new club, the new team must surrender two first-round draft picks as compensation to the previous club.

Even so, the Redskins and other receiver-needy teams continue to have plenty of options on the free agent market. Those options include Vincent Jackson, the New Orleans Saints’ Marques Colston and the Indianapolis Colts’ Pierre Garcon, each of whom seems to fit the Redskins’ need for a big-play wide receiver.

The Green Bay Packers did not use their franchise tag on their backup quarterback, Matt Flynn. He is expected to be highly coveted by some quarterback-needy teams on the unrestricted free agent market.

Related: Redskins may pursue Jackson, Garcon, Colston

By  |  10:52 PM ET, 03/05/2012

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