The NFL and the NFLPA were scheduled to present for consideration and resolution on Thursday the question of whether the three-game placement of receiver Vincent Jackson on the roster exempt list would follow him to a new team if/when he is traded by the Chargers.
The league believes that it does, which would make Jackson unavailable to play for six games, regardless of whether Jackson is or isn’t property of the Chargers. The union believes that a trade would erase Jackson from the roster exempt list, making him available to play for his new team upon expiration of a three-game suspension for violation of the substance-abuse policy.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the two sides have engaged in settlement talks, and that an agreement reducing Jackson’s total absence to four or five games could be reached today.
The Vikings are believed to be the top candidate for Jackson’s
services. An unnamed team reportedly worked out a one-year deal with
Jackson, an unsigned restricted free agent, on September 4. The
Chargers and the unnamed team then weren’t able to work out a trade.
The bigger question is whether the Chargers even want to trade Jackson. It could be that the Chargers hope to squat on his rights until 2011, allow him to leave as an unrestricted free agent, and then collect a compensatory draft pick in 2012. The fact that the NFL is attempting to resolve a fairly narrow issue under a soon-to-be-expiring CBA suggests that the Chargers have indicated to the league office that the team is ready to move Jackson.
The fact that the two sides are working toward a settlement demonstrates that the arbitration could go either way, and that the parties prefer a little bit of something to the possibility of a whole lot of nothing.