Jackson, who recently turned 34, is finishing up the final year of a five-year contract worth $55.5 million and will become an unrestricted free agent March 9. There is a possibility that he retires, having finished the last two seasons on IR with knee injuries.
“We did have conversations with Vincent," general manager Jason Licht told reporters at the NFL combine Wednesday. "I have the utmost respect for him. Everybody in the organization does. In my mind, in head coach Dirk [Koetter's] mind, in the owners' minds, he’ll be a Buc for life. So whatever happens happens, but we’ll always want Vincent to be around the organization."
Koetter echoed Licht's sentiments about the three-time Pro Bowler, who produced three straight 1,000-yard seasons in Tampa and six in his entire career. He currently has 4,326 receiving yards as a Buccaneer, the third-most in franchise history. He was also named Buccaneers Man of the Year in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
"I’ll say for the one millionth time how much respect we have for Vincent, what he’s done in his career and as a player," Koetter said. "Like any guy who’s an UFA [unrestricted free agent], those guys have earned the right to see where they stand and to test the market and Vincent is no different than anyone else. In our minds, we’re always going to think of Vincent as a Buccaneer, but we’ve got to see how that plays itself out."
It seems unlikely that there will be much of a market right now for Jackson, given his age, the injuries the last two years and his declining production. In the five games that he was healthy for last year, he struggled, catching 15 passes for 173 yards.
With or without Jackson, the Bucs made it very clear that they are looking for receivers in Indianapolis and when free agency gets underway next week. They currently have about $68 million in salary cap space and need to find more explosive weapons on offense.
"There’s a lot of players that we like at that position that are free agents and the draft – that’s the process that we’re going through right now," Licht said. "You can’t always get what you want. We’re going to do the best that we can to add depth and add playmakers.”
ESPN.com's Vaughn McClure contributed to this report.