SAN DIEGO (AP) — Holdout wide receiver Vincent Jackson remains the property of the San Diego Chargers despite his agent saying he had deals in place with several teams before Wednesday’s deadline.
Agent Neil Schwartz said he heard from multiple general managers that the Chargers were asking for “wholly unreasonable” compensation for Jackson, a Pro Bowler who had two straight 1,000-yard seasons. Schwartz said another GM told him that Chargers general manager A.J. Smith seemed to be “squatting” on Jackson.
“Archie Manning had it right about this organization,” Schwartz said.
He was referring to when Manning had agent Tom Condon contact the Chargers days before the 2004 draft to ask that the team not take Eli Manning with the first pick. Smith did anyway, then swapped the rights to Manning to the New York Giants for the rights to Philip Rivers and several draft picks.
Schwartz said the legal language with one team was already drawn up and ready for Jackson to read and sign. That was a one-year deal with an option, with an average salary of more than $9 million. Schwartz declined to identify that team, but it was widely reported that the Vikings were a major suitor.
Under terms of a deal arranged by the NFL and the players’ union, Jackson had to sign a new contract by 4 p.m. EDT Wednesday in order to play for a new team in Week 5. Now, he’ll have to finish serving the remainder of his three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and serve a three-game suspension on the roster exempt list if he does sign.
Had a deal been done before the deadline, Jackson would have been placed on the Commissioner Exempt list for three games, retroactive to Game 2. That essentially would have rolled six games worth of suspensions into four games.
Those suspensions seem to be moot because Schwartz said it’s unlikely Jackson will play this season under teams of the team’s contract tender.
“Not now, not ever,” Schwartz said. “Again, it’s up to the Chargers. He’s got nothing with Norv Turner. He loves the city of San Diego. He loves catching the ball from Philip Rivers.”
Unhappy over not receiving a long-term deal in the offseason, Jackson refused to sign the one-year, $3.268 million contract he was tendered as a restricted free agent. When he and holdout left tackle Marcus McNeill didn’t sign their tenders by June 15, the Chargers were entitled to offer them 110 percent of their 2009 salaries, essentially cutting $2.5 million off the tenders. If either reports this year, it would be for the final six games in order to accrue a season.
Smith, who has a history of hardball tactics in dealing with players, placed Jackson and McNeill on the roster exempt list on Aug. 20.
Smith didn’t return a call seeking comment.
BERNIE WILSON / The Associated Press