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A.J. Smith on absence of Jackson, McNeill: "It hurts"

Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith doesn’t do much of two things:  talk or smile.  Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports got Smith to engage in one of those activities.

Here’s a hint — no feathers were harmed in the preparation of Silver’s latest article.

Smith opened up, uncharacteristically, about the fact that left tackle Marcus McNeill and receiver Vincent Jackson remain unsigned.

It hurts,” Smith told Silver.  “It hurts when you don’t have your players.  How
are you going to win a championship without your left tackle and your
wideout?  I’m sick about it.  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how
anybody could be more upset about this than me.”

Um, A.J.?  You don’t know what to do?  For starters, you could quit hiding behind the supposed uncertainty arising from the lack of a new labor deal and offer fair contracts to your core players.

We’ve already made clear our frustration regarding Smith’s cake-and-eat-it method with Jackson, whom Smith won’t pay and won’t trade.  Meanwhile, Smith squeezed both men, dropping their restricted free agency tenders dramatically as of June 15.  Not because Smith had to, but because he could.

“Our position now with the labor unrest is we’re going to shut it down
and take it slow,” Smith said.  “We’re on hold right now.  We’re not the
lone ranger, but we’re on hold.  It’s not forever.  I don’t know when we
will or when we won’t [start giving out contract extensions].  There is a
long list of players in line for them.  It’s the longest I’ve ever
seen.”

Yeah, and the fact that quarterback Philip Rivers got one shows that teams can do it, if they so choose.

The Chargers failure to load the cannon for a crack at a championship makes us continue to wonder whether they’re simply taking one for the good of the league.  Smith’s decision to point out that his team isn’t “the lone ranger” could be interpreted by the NFLPA as an acknowledgment that teams have decided — expressly or implicitly — to hold off on giving out big-money long-term deals, since the up-front money will help the players who receive the long-term deals pay their bills during a work stoppage.  Indeed, the owners would have less money in their own coffers when the locks go on the gates if they start plunking down big-money signing bonuses now.

Meanwhile, that collusion case builds, little by little.

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33 Responses to “A.J. Smith on absence of Jackson, McNeill: "It hurts"”
  1. Levito says: Jul 6, 2010 1:45 PM

    AJ may not talk much, but when he does, it makes you wonder why he bothered. That guy rarely has anything intelligent to say to the media.

  2. DBL says: Jul 6, 2010 1:49 PM

    Collusion…?
    You mean the “term” used to describe the lack of Restricted players signed (or more fairly offered contracts) by other teams this year…?
    yeah that Collusion.

  3. Joe King says: Jul 6, 2010 1:49 PM

    I’m so glad that you are not the Chargers GM. You would make Al Davis look competent.

  4. Riv Dog 85 says: Jul 6, 2010 1:55 PM

    i will bet they will get something done after the other signings. maybe a year deal and then once they get the labor deal taken care of they can offer a long time deal. i just hope that at least mcneill is there when camp starts

  5. 420fan says: Jul 6, 2010 1:56 PM

    A.J. can keep tearing apart the chargers…………
    Stay classy Sandy Eggo!

  6. bigbolt says: Jul 6, 2010 2:07 PM

    The window for the Chargers to win a Super Bowl will be open as long as Phillip Rivers is healthy. But, not having your young starting OLT protecting his blindside could put Rivers health in question. AJ Smith should be having nightmares about some beast DE/OLB coming off the corner, tossing the Bolts 2nd string horse crap OLT aside, and knocking Rivers out for the year. What will be the excuse from AJ and ownership then? I think Jackson has far less leverage. Rivers has the ability to make an average WR corps look very good, especially with Gates roaming the middle of the field.
    That being said, I still can’t believe 2 players in the prime of their careers, with a work stoppage looming and the threat of also having the franchise tag slapped on you prolonging your wish for a long term deal, are turning down a 1 year deal for 500% raise in pay from last year.

  7. 69ers says: Jul 6, 2010 2:11 PM

    Wow, this guy is a headcase…honestly. I actually feel sorry for Charger fans

  8. LT2_3 says: Jul 6, 2010 2:14 PM

    Hey Florio!
    Awhile ago you said you were going to do some big article explaining the whole “collusion” thing including:
    A. What it means
    2. Why it’s wrong
    III. What any possible penalty might be if the league has been doing that
    Did I miss it? Can you refer back to it for us?
    I think there really is no legal issue and you just keep beating the drum on it for the same reason a monkey wanks alot – because he can.
    Or at least, it would be completely unprovable at any rate when a completely valid explanation is that 31 businesses (teams) decided not to spend big money this year because they wanted to have more money available next year if there is a work stoppage. (I said 31 teams because the Bears spent BIG)
    C’mon man. Where’s that big article explaining it all for us?

  9. TampaBayBucs6and10 says: Jul 6, 2010 2:22 PM

    Chargers are the Chargers. They are not the Payers, they are the chargers.

  10. sdffa11 says: Jul 6, 2010 2:23 PM

    Riv Dog 85 says:
    July 6, 2010 1:55 PM
    i will bet they will get something done after the other signings. maybe a year deal and then once they get the labor deal taken care of they can offer a long time deal. i just hope that at least mcneill is there when camp starts
    WOULD YOU BET TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ON IT? BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT THE FANS AND FRONT OFFICE ARE ASKING THE PLAYERS TO DO.

  11. stampats says: Jul 6, 2010 2:30 PM

    This site needs to Step back and take a look at things from the Teams’ stand point…
    Because If you go around throwing top salaries at player in this climate before the CBA is signed you can kill your team for years…
    Then you’ll have Florio and Co. Laughing at you “Ah what a moron to sign HUGE deals when there wasn’t even a CBA in place”….
    Heck, If I were a player looking to win a SUper Bowl, I’d hope MY TEAM made smart financial decisions in order to build the best possible team….
    Everyone needs to settle down and stop acting as if every good player “Deserves Money NOW”……
    How about some articles about the CBA and what a smart team SHOULD do right now…. It’s not as clear as you make it out to be if you know WFT you’re talking about.

  12. Dan says: Jul 6, 2010 2:37 PM

    There is no collusion. None. Vets get traded at the draft for 2nd round draft picks. A tender of a 1st and 3rd make it prohibitive to offer a restricted offer sheet. The player is not worth that value in trade.
    The players won big on the last CBA or so they thought. The owners are using the 1 loophole in the CBA to have any leverage at all.
    When was the last time a Vet was traded for a 1st round pick that it worked out for the team getting the player? Galloway – 2 firsts and Roy Williams 1st and 3rd didnt work out for Dallas. Will Richard Seymour really be worth a top 15 pick?
    The Jets gave up a 1st and 3rd for Curtis Martin: That is the one and only time I can remember it ever working out for the team that got the player.

  13. robert ethen says: Jul 6, 2010 2:38 PM

    Wow, he really must be a grouch. Most people crack up as soon as Silver opens his mouth.

  14. paulnoga says: Jul 6, 2010 2:41 PM

    AJ Smith BIO:
    Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith has assembled one of the NFL’s finest teams. Named by Forbes Magazine in 2006 as the NFL’s top General Manager, Smith has overseen a renaissance in San Diego during which the Chargers have won three straight AFC West championships and four in the last five seasons. That success has carried over to the postseason where the Chargers’ three playoff wins in 2007-08 mark the franchise’s first since 1995.
    Smith took the reins of the Chargers on April 22, 2003 after his close friend and longtime associate, John Butler, lost a lengthy battle with cancer. In Smith’s six years as general manager, the Chargers have won 58 regular-season games, more than all but three teams in the NFL. Only the New England Patriots (77), Indianapolis Colts (75) and Pittsburgh Steelers (62) , who have combined to win 14 division titles and five Super Bowls in that time, have won more. Smith will not rest, nor will he be satisfied, until the Chargers can add their name to that list as Super Bowl champions.
    Smith’s success since taking over as general manager has not been lost on the organization. On Jan. 1, 2008, President & CEO Dean Spanos rewarded him with a five-year contract extension thru 2014.

  15. Rick says: Jul 6, 2010 2:41 PM

    AJ has built a consistant winner and is holding strong against a huge contract for a guy suspended the beginning of the year for drinking and driving. Please explain to me what AJ is doing wrong.

  16. Zach says: Jul 6, 2010 2:50 PM

    “For starters, you could quit hiding behind the supposed uncertainty arising from the lack of a new labor deal and offer fair contracts to your core players.”
    So Vincent Jackson can go get enough money to go get a 3rd DUI and miss an entire season?

  17. Cmoney20 says: Jul 6, 2010 2:55 PM

    “Chargers are the Chargers. They are not the Payers, they are the chargers”
    One could look at as during the tough situation they should face the problem head on and be the “Chargers” and not the “Retreaters”

  18. paulnoga says: Jul 6, 2010 2:59 PM

    I am a Chargers fan. Most real Chargers fans know that AJ smith has built this franchise (in the modern era.) All sports fans want their team to spend, spend, spend. As teams like the Redskins should have learned, spending does not win Championships. The Chargers rarely pay for a free agent; instead they build thru the Draft. What does it say when the Chargers will play for at least most of this season without five Pro Bowlers (RB Tomlinson, WR Jackson, LT McNeill, CB Cromartie, and NT Williams) and yet, the Chargers are ranked 3rd in Las Vegas to win this years Super Bowl? How can that be? the only answer is that AJ Smith has drafted incredibly for many years. The window is not closing. It has opened wider.

  19. JimmyY says: Jul 6, 2010 3:02 PM

    Thank you Rick, and others, for letting AJ Smith be pragmatic. Florio, its easy to piss on someone when its not your money but if it was, how would you feel if this knucklehead had been busted not once but twice for DUI’s, gets a three game suspension, and you’re supposed to make him a big money offer? You’re full of it, and you’d be the first to bitch and moan about AJ Smith giving money to someone who has not been such a forthright citizen. You’re nothing but a blogger who can’t get over the fact, look it up, that under AJ Smith the Chargers have their best record ever than under any other GM. You’re big at words but lets see you put your money where your mouth is. Oh, that’s right, you’re not a GM, not a coach and never will be. Nevermind.

  20. Stuart Scotts left eye says: Jul 6, 2010 3:05 PM

    Jackson has had one good year. He had 68 receptions and he is DEMANDING a Brandon Marshall type contract.
    McNeill has not been the same since his rookie year. He has had neck and back problems and wants to get paid like a top 3 LT, which he is currently not. AJ wants to give him a performance based contract but McNeill is declining it.
    Both these guys are asking WAY too much and, as a Charger fan, I would rather them be gone then us risk the farm and overpay these guys.

  21. Grimmlock42 says: Jul 6, 2010 3:13 PM

    Let his punkass holdout. Just give the ball to Gates, the real star of the team. Philip Rivers best friend on the field when the shit goes down. Let’s be honest here fellas. Gates is the guy. Jackson wants more money for what? To buy more beer. Don’t sign your tender jerkoff. We hate you. Trade his ass. He pulled a couple catches out of his ass and now he wants Andre Johnson money. NO WAY PAL.

  22. BoltsFan says: Jul 6, 2010 3:29 PM

    In other news, Florio has his lips sewn to the NFLPA’s ass.
    Keep playing hardball, A.J. We cannot turn the league over to the employees or the inmates will be running the asylum. Too bad the league can’t file charges against the players’ union for collusion…because that is EXACTLY what the union is doing.

  23. Leto_II says: Jul 6, 2010 3:59 PM

    Dear AJ,
    It hurts when you go 14-2 and get fired.
    Signed,
    Marty

  24. Beezer says: Jul 6, 2010 4:00 PM

    The Chargers also play in the weakest division in the NFL which is a huge reason they stay “competitive” every year. Paulnoga Tomlinson, Cromartie, and Williams are former pro bowlers who have not played well over the past few years. You make it sound like it’s a huge loss but they are better off without those players. It’s got to be a great feeling knowing that six of your games this season will be against the raiders, chiefs, and bronco’s.

  25. Mark0226 says: Jul 6, 2010 4:13 PM

    Have you considered that they GM’s are independently making sound business decisions based on the uncertainty of the new labor deal? Even the Colts and Patriots are being slow to negotiate new deals for their Franchise Pro-Bowl, Super Bowl winning, MVP QB’s. Are they really going to spite Manning and Brady because of collusion with other teams? Polian has specifically said that Manning will be the highest paid QB ever and yet they have no deal in place, but you want AJ to break the bank for a guy one violation away from a 1 year suspension (remember Ricky Williams)?
    Perhaps you should get with Oliver Stone or Michael Moore and create a “documentary” on this “collusion.”

  26. numberfour says: Jul 6, 2010 4:14 PM

    wont pay and wont trade?
    these guys will still get paid. quit making it sound like they are paupers.
    if they blow it all on bling and purple drank, well that’s their own fault.

  27. Mark0226 says: Jul 6, 2010 4:26 PM

    I have a question about Vincent Jackson that I would like you to address. It has been stated that Jackson and McNeill can sit out until week 10/11 and come back when there are six games remaining to accrue another season towards unrestricted free agency. My question is do they just need to be under contract or be on the active roster to accrue that year?
    In Jackson’s case, he is suspended for three games, so doesn’t he need to show up three weeks earlier to get the six games credit? And, what if the Chargers really want to play hardball and keep them off the active roster for one game to keep them from accruing that year or if they get injured and miss at least one game?

  28. BigFatDog says: Jul 6, 2010 4:31 PM

    Wow, there are some serious imbeciles commenting on this forum. It’s funny when you know a team’s history and a GM’s to listen to uninformed fools spew nonsense.
    AJ Smith is a heck of a GM and this article is an interesting look from his perspective. In my opinion Smith’s mistake was decreasing their offers on June 15. I don’t think it was necessary at that point to play nasty. But on the other hand, AJ had two employees under contract who were threatening to not show up for work. I see why he did what he did, I just wish he hadn’t done it.
    Florio makes an interesting point. This looks like collusion by the owners, but then again why shouldn’t they handle this the way they are? It’s their money to spend, not the players. If Jackson and McNeill hate their situation, they should blame their union.
    And guess what guys, one of you is just going to get franchise tagged after the season anyway. But at least you live in San Diego, which I promise is 100 percent better than where most of the haters on this message board reside.

  29. Kyle says: Jul 6, 2010 5:44 PM

    @Beezer says: July 6, 2010 4:00 PM
    The Chargers also play in the weakest division in the NFL which is a huge reason they stay “competitive” every year…
    ——-
    This is a ridiculous argument. First of all, the weakest division over the last 6 years in the NFL is the NFC West followed by the NFC North. This has been true over the entire span of the Chargers “competitive” (as you put it) stretch (since 2004).
    From 2004-2006 (during which the Chargers won the first two of their last 5 division titles) the AFC West was the strongest division in the NFL…According to both total wins and wins against teams out of the division.
    The last few years have been down in the AFC West, with a slight resurgence last year, but it has still been a stronger division than the NFC West.
    Even if you ignore all of the above facts…if the reason they stay “competitive” is because they’re in a weak division, why haven’t the Cardinals or Seahawks been able to win 5 of the last 6 division titles? Or the Vikings, or the Packers?
    Face it, the Chargers are, year in and year out, a very competitive team in the NFL. And a lot of that has to do with AJ Smith.

  30. paulnoga says: Jul 6, 2010 7:35 PM

    “…I have a question about Vincent Jackson that I would like you to address. It has been stated that Jackson and McNeill can sit out until week 10/11 and come back when there are six games remaining to accrue another season towards unrestricted free agency. My question is do they just need to be under contract or be on the active roster to accrue that year?…”
    I believe that the Chargers had to offer the players a contract, or they would be free. Then they lowered the contract amount, but it still had to be offered. if the Chargers take the contract off the table, the players are free agents. A valid contract must be “on the table” as long as the Chargers want to keep their rights. That is why the players can come in anytime during the season and sign up.
    If the Chargers end the contract before they sign, another team can sign them before week 11 and they fulfill the years contract.

  31. nflhof says: Jul 6, 2010 8:09 PM

    Any chance this new CBA will give Vet players like Vincent Jackson a bigger pool of money to draw from? I ask this because arent the players and owners asking for a revisit on the rookie pay system? Dont they want to put a rookie cap in place similar to what the NBA has? So if there is less salary going to the rooks wont the second contract players get more money due to the new pay/salary rules?

  32. ChargersRoll13209 says: Jul 6, 2010 8:16 PM

    # TampaBayBucs6and10 says: July 6, 2010 2:22 PM
    Chargers are the Chargers. They are not the Payers, they are the chargers.
    [—————————————————–
    This coming from a guy whose owner put his team a billion dollars in the hole and wont pay players to come there!!!

  33. HomelandDefense says: Jul 7, 2010 12:34 PM

    its not collusion, many teams (like the Pats and Colts with Brady and Manning) have come right out and said they wont pay until they know whats up with the CBA.
    Its not collusion when its out in the public.

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