Vincent Jackson could play in the fifth game of the season if he’s traded, but he has to be traded soon for that to happen.
Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network has the entire NFL statement on Jackson’s situation, which has a few interesting wrinkles to it.
1. As part of the settlement, a moratorium will be in effect from now until 4 p.m. ET on Friday, September 17. In the meantime, any team interested in Jackson must receive permission from the Chargers before talking contract with Jackson’s agents. A trade can’t be worked out with the Chargers until the moratorium is over.
2. Jackson is eligible to play in the fifth game of the season if he’s traded to a new team if he signs and is traded by 4PM ET on September 22.
3. If Jackson is not traded by 4 p.m. ET on September 22, he will serve
the remainder of his three-game suspension and be placed on roster
exempt until the day following the third game scheduled after the date
he actually reports, regardless of any subsequent trade.
So a trade has to happen between Friday and Wednesday or any interested team loses out on two possible games from Jackson.
The Chargers still have all the control here. They can trade with who they want to. If, say, the Rams offered the highest draft pick to San Diego, then the Chargers may only allow Jackson to talk contract with them. Even if he really wants to go elsewhere.