With any NFL team, it’s hard to know where the B.S. stops and the truth begins. In San Diego, there’s plenty of B.S. coming from the man known as A.J. But the Chargers’ General Manager also appears ready to follow through on the protracted poker hand that he has been playing with left tackle Marcus McNeill and receiver Vincent Jackson.
As to Jackson specifically, it appears that the Chargers plan to squat on him indefinitely.
In a mailbag column for the San Diego Union-Tribune, Kevin Acee suggests that McNeill could eventually get a long term deal. Not so for Jackson.
“Vincent Jackson is not a part of the plan,” Acee writes. ” I don’t see them using the franchise [tag] on Jackson either. Not now. This has gotten ugly.”
With Jackson suspended for the first three games of the season and unlikely to show up and sign his dramatically reduced restricted free agency tender before that, the question becomes whether he’ll sign at some point after the suspension ends and before Week 10, after which time he won’t be able to play at all in 2010.
If he doesn’t show up by Week 10, the Chargers will hold the same rights to him in 2011 that they held in 2010. Jackson’s only path out of San Diego, short of a trade, lies in showing up by Week 10, earning a year of credit toward free agency, and then hoping to get out of town next year. (Since he’s not under contract, Jackson can show up after August 10 and still earn a year of credit toward free agency.)
So while Acee thinks there’s little chance of Jackson showing up for six weeks and making roughly $200,000, the fact that he’ll be right back where he is right now if he doesn’t show up by Week 10 makes it likely, in our view, that he’ll come in by Week 10, get his year of credit, and hope to be able to get out come next year.
And if the Chargers truly aren’t interested in signing Jackson to a long-term deal, why don’t the Chargers trade him? For a team that has postseason aspirations and, presumably, a desire to win games once they get there (for a change), it makes sense to get something for him before he shows up in November, goes through the motions for six weeks, and then walks away.