In the wake of the Chargers’ failure to trade receiver Vincent Jackson, the assault from the player and his agents against the organization continues.
On Wednesday, agents Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod separately teed off on the team, saying that “Archie Manning was right about this organization.”
Also on Wednesday, Jackson himself sent a text message to NFL Network and NFL.com regarding the situation.
“I just don’t understand why [a trade wasn't completed],” Jackson said. “They obviously think I’m a valuable player by asking for such high
trade compensation, but why am I only offered tender salary?”
Jackson’s point is a valid one. If the Chargers believe Jackson is worth a second-round pick and a third-round pick, why are they playing extreme hardball with him from a contractual standpoint? As we’ve said before, offering him the bare minimum tender as a restricted free agent is the equivalent of telling rookie first-rounder Ryan Mathews, “The labor deal requires us only to tender you a one-year, $320,000 contract offer. So that’s all we’re doing.”
So the Chargers are having it both ways; the won’t pay Jackson like a guy who’d command a second-round pick and a third-round pick, but they still want that kind of compensation for his services.
“My agents and teams interested did everything to make it happen, but
this organization stopped it,” Jackson added. “I just want to play football. It feels
unethical and I am disappointed.”
Moving forward, the question becomes whether any team will try to trade for Jackson, now that he’ll miss six games instead of four games. In our view, a team that would be willing to sign him to a long-term deal shouldn’t be worried about the two extra games. The Rams, for example, wouldn’t need him for this year’s playoff run, since there most likely won’t be one. But they could get him now as opposed to competing with other teams on the open market in March.
That said, signing him on the open market in March wouldn’t require the Rams or anyone else to send draft picks to the Chargers.
This assumes that Jackson will be an unrestricted free agent in March (or whenever the free-agency period opens in 2011). The current CBA provides that restricted free agents who sit out the year remain restricted free agents the following year. The question becomes whether this provision will be tweaked for the trio of unsigned restricted free agents who would have been unrestricted free agents but for the rules of the uncapped year.
We’re told that the union plans to insist on exempting Jackson, Chargers tackle Marcus McNeill, and Patriots guard Logan Mankins from the current rule. But to get via collective bargaining a rule that helps only three members of the rank and file could cost the rest of the membership too much.
Regardless of how those details work out, it’s now impossible to imagine Jackson ever again wearing a Chargers helmet.