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A.J. Smith calls bluffs of Marcus McNeill, Vincent Jackson

The decision of the San Diego Chargers to sign veteran tackle Tra Thomas comes not from a desire to add depth to the rotation.

Instead, Thomas apparently represents insurance against the strong possibility that current left tackle Marcus McNeill will hold out into the 2010 regular season.

“It’s my understanding we have lost the services of both [left tackle] Marcus [McNeill] and
[receiver] Vincent [Jackson] for a considerable length of time,” General Manager A.J. Smith
said Thursday, per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.  “I certainly am taking them at their word.  Therefore, I felt it
was in our best interest to act quickly and secure a veteran left
tackle.  Tra is a talented player that brings us a wealth of starting
experience.  He will be added to the mix, and we will go from there.”

Of course, if Smith truly is taking both players at their word, he’d also be signing receiver Terrell Owens.  Until Smith does, we’ll conclude that he’s simply playing games.

Of the two high-profile unsigned Chargers, Jackson is the one more likely to hold out.  Indications we’ve picked up suggest his camp is unfazed by the looming (as of Tuesday) decrease in his tender offer to 110 percent of his 2009 base salary, and that Jackson likewise has no qualms about holding out into the season because he expects to be suspended for at least two games in the wake of his second DUI guilty plea.

As to McNeill, we suspect he’ll flinch by Tuesday and sign his tender.  Though he may hold out thereafter, it won’t be for long.  If he’s under contract and if he stays out beyond August 10, he’ll lose a year of service toward unrestricted free agency.

The arrival of Thomas possibly represents the straw that will cause McNeill and agent Alvin Keels to ink the tender.

Now, please allow us to get our popcorn ready for the next step in the tug-o-war between the Chargers and Jackson, which if Smith is serious should involve adding the guy who’ll then tell us to get our popcorn ready.

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23 Responses to “A.J. Smith calls bluffs of Marcus McNeill, Vincent Jackson”
  1. Big Stretch says: Jun 10, 2010 8:46 AM

    No need for T.O. the Chargers already have Jackson’s replacement on the roster

  2. dboom92 says: Jun 10, 2010 8:50 AM

    Man, AJ sure is a doosh…. Just ask Ernie Accorsi.

  3. DonTerrelli says: Jun 10, 2010 8:50 AM

    While Jackson is a good player, he can’t seem to stay out of trouble. T.O. to the Chargers! Who else do they have, Nanee?

  4. Tim18 says: Jun 10, 2010 8:54 AM

    I used not to mind the chargers until they fired Marty S. because him and AJ Smith didn’t get along. You had a coach that went 14 – 2 and you fire him when the players made bone head mistakes and hire Norv Turner. LT, Merryman, and Cromartie all played great under Marty S. Now there not doing so well. The only team they can beat in the playoffs are the colts which is a good team but chargers fans i really don’t see your team getting any better. Marty and AJ made a pair and put together a good team, but now that team is falling apart letting go of old talent but not replacing it with new talent. But I do like the guy they picked up from Fresno State this year in the draft.

  5. jj jones says: Jun 10, 2010 8:54 AM

    It’s too bad that McNeill and Jackson aren’t boys with Deion. They could get free “pay the man” shoutouts on NFL Network.

  6. Billy Barou says: Jun 10, 2010 9:02 AM

    No way the Chargers sign Owens they don’t want another pain in the a$$ player, besides they already have Floyd

  7. Black QB White RB says: Jun 10, 2010 9:03 AM

    Perhaps AJ Smith sees trouble on the horizon in Vincent Jackson’s second DUI guilty plea.
    When you get popped for a 2nd DUI, it’s kinda like hitting the lottery twice. You have to drive drunk HUNDREDS of times to get caught twice.
    Basically anyone with multiple DUI’s HAS a drinking problem, whether they are ready to admit it or not. How much farther it goes remains to be seen.
    That being said, AJ Smith is the only guy I ever heard of who fired a coach after going 14-2 and replaced him with a guy who never really had much success.

  8. burntorangehorn says: Jun 10, 2010 9:23 AM

    A.J. smith has some real talent as a GM, but it really appears that he’s too quick to let his ego cloud his judgment. He’s going to be his own undoing.

  9. Bill In DC says: Jun 10, 2010 9:24 AM

    Interesting that they signed Thomas and not Flozell Adams. It says a lot about how far teams think Flozell has deteriorated

  10. 69ers says: Jun 10, 2010 9:47 AM

    This AJ Smith seems like a real tool. I’m sure these two players are thrilled their ego maniac GM is basically calling them out in the media…

  11. ChargersRoll13209 says: Jun 10, 2010 9:47 AM

    All you Marty S supporters, including me, you have to remember, Norv has done something with this team that Marty could not do, and that is win a play off spot. Norv took us all the way to the AFC championship, Marty unfortunately did not. I love Marty and had a sour taste in my mouth for this organization after they fired him, but you do have to admit, Norv has taken us farther then Marty did.
    I think Norv has to do better this year then he did last year or we may see him moving on…
    Merriman’s play slacked off , not because Norv was the head coach, but because of his injury and my own personal opinion, of him getting off the juice. Cromartie, played with a shattered hip, that is why his play went down, and he was more of a man to man CB then Zone Coverage, Im glad he is gone, but he may flourish in that Jets Defense because of the style he plays. LT’s play diminished because he has so much abuse from prior years.. You cant blame that on Norv.
    Now, on to T.O, Would I want him long term for this team?? Noooo way, but he would be a good fixture for a year. The only trouble he had last year was the questioning of his QB getting him the ball quicker, but buffalo had no O line so Trent Edwards was scrambling and getting sacked and hurt. When Edwards replacement stepped on the field, T.O was able to put up numbers. The Chargers have a much better O line then buffalo, and they have a Great QB compared to Buffalo, I think T.O would come in and produce and show that he is capable of playing at a high level for one more year. Im warm to the idea of him coming here, but only for a year. I dont think AJ will do it because of his distaste for locker room cancers however…

  12. bonecity7 says: Jun 10, 2010 9:49 AM

    Someone please help me with this….
    If Jackson holds out, say into Week 3, wouldn’t his suspension start once he comes back? He can’t hold out the first two weeks and then come back and play in Week 3, can he?

  13. kennethnoisewater says: Jun 10, 2010 9:50 AM

    So wait, I’m confused….. they have to report by August 10th….. but what’s the nonsense about holding out for the first 10 weeks on the season to accrue a year of service? Are you telling me they have to show up for 3 weeks then they can hold out again? How does that make any sense?

  14. Really? says: Jun 10, 2010 10:42 AM

    What good comes of A.J. Smith making comments like that? He’s essentially daring 2 of his best players to hold out. Even if they sign their tenders, isn’t it reasonable to think that these guys might remember those comments when they eventually hit free agency? I know I certainly would. Incredibly dumb strategy, if that’s what you’d even call it.

  15. DEMOLITION says: Jun 10, 2010 10:48 AM

    Jackson’s suspension starts when he’s counted on the active roster. If he holds out all season and comes back next year, the suspensions will happen next year.

  16. Tim18 says: Jun 10, 2010 11:31 AM

    I do agree the chargers went to the AFC championship under Norv Turner. But if they were trying to win a super bowl neither one of them accomplished that task. I do not think Norv Turner is a good coach. He is winning and making it to the playoffs under the team Marty built. Just like Wade Philips in Dallas with Parcells. If you have a solid QB your gonna win games regaurdless in the NFL. Rivers is a solid QB.
    TO is a cancer. Any team that signs him is a fool. The guy will challenge the head coach and divide the locker room. He thinks he is still a number one receiver and will expect to get thrown too like a number one receiver. I image he will drop just as many balls as he always does. He had ok stats last year, but if you guys watch the scores he had any receiver can run down the sideline and catch a pass and take two steps in the end zone. The only reason he didn’t make any noise in the media last year is cause he didn’t have a coach to challenge. They fired Dick J. which is was about time and they had an intern coach which no one probably knows his name. This is probably why no team has signed him yet or wants any part of TO.

  17. Ramzilla says: Jun 10, 2010 11:35 AM

    @Tim18 – Marty’s gone hommie and he aint comming back. It’s an old dusty worn out arguement. As soon as someone say’s “Marty was 14-2…..” I’m automatically shuttin you down because the next thing will be ” We should have never gotten rid of LT…..” I don’t like AJ Smith, but Like AJ Smith. Atheletes with an opportunity to win, make a crapload of money and live in the best city in the world should be willing to work for an a-hole of a boss. Better that than millions of a-hole fans. Ask LT halfway through the season and see how it’s working out for him.

  18. BigMikeSkinsFan says: Jun 10, 2010 11:54 AM

    Floyd could step up
    Gates will get his.
    Nanee could mature in to a #2
    They should think about bringing back Osgood. I know he was cut from Jax but he is familiar with the Chargers, he is a hometown boy and he wants to be a WR so bad this could be a perfect fit for hi,.
    AJ is a big dummy in the words of Fred Sanford. He says things in the media and treats his players terribly. Ramzilla – while I agree with you about Marty being long gone can you agree that the way he was dismissed was wrong too?
    They got rid of Drew Brees for cying out loud. I know he had a shoulder injury but he kept saying he was coming back and all Drew did was get better. They got lucky with being in the draft where they were to get Rivers but thats just another bonehead move by AJ in my opinion.

  19. sasquash69 says: Jun 10, 2010 12:42 PM

    LT is more important then WR any day of the week. M.McNeil is a good solid LT with the skill to be a very good LT. The Chargers line sucked last season. They need McNeil more then drunky. Watch this year when L.Tomlinson brings his average back over 4 yards a pop now that he has a O-Line. Chargers need an O-Line more then anything. Tomlinson and Sproles were both under 4 a pop last season, so there line must be addressed.Also Merrymens play has dropped because of his lack of juicing. He was a fraud, sorry Bolts fans

  20. charger33 says: Jun 10, 2010 1:11 PM

    Only if TO wants to take a vet minimum salary loaded with performance based incentives, which I doubt he will do. Remember, AJ tried to get Runyan early last year on the cheap. Runyan declined until the season was pretty much over then took the original deal. AJ will not overpay, period. Losing VJ isn’t the end of the world. Gates, Floyd, Sproles and Tolbert out of the backfield, the passing attack will be more than serviceable. Plus, if Bust Davis were to stay healthy, plus Naanee is no slouch. Also, we brought in about 3200 rookie FA wide outs this year. Go ahead and be a tough guy VJ, see how that treats ya. Big Mac will either sign soon or Tra will be the bolts starting LT in 2010, simple as that.

  21. GOVIKES|GOVIKES says: Jun 10, 2010 2:48 PM

    Every time I see AJ’s name mentioned, his relations with his players seem contentious at best, and sometimes downright caustic. Aren’t they supposed to be on the same team?

  22. Nard100 says: Jun 10, 2010 4:18 PM

    AJ’s a moron. He had a good thing and he’s going to send it downhill. Remember AJ, due to the public nature of this stance, if it doesn’t work everyone is going to be looking in your direction for answers.

  23. boltmancraft says: Jun 11, 2010 3:31 AM

    Tim18, don’t be an idiot. Of COURSE LT played great for Marty…HE WAS YOUNG. But he STILL was the NFL Rushing Champion in 2007…Turner’s 1st season. In 2005 and 2006, Merriman had great years, but his best was 2007…under Turner. And Cromartie?? His best season by far, with the 10 int’s, was 2007, Turner’s first season. Check your facts before you start running your yap.

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