Why Vincent Jackson deal didn't happen

September, 22, 2010
9/22/10
6:38
PM ET
The reason Vincent Jackson wasn’t traded by the Chargers on Wednesday came down to two issues: No team met the trade demands of the Chargers and the bad timing of Braylon Edwards’ DUI arrest early Tuesday morning, according to a source.

The NFL and the NFL Players' Association had agreed to a 4 p.m. ET deadline for San Diego to trade Jackson, which would have allowed him to be active by the fifth week of the regular season; Jackson is under a three-game suspension for past DUI offenses. When he did not sign his restricted free-agent tender, the Chargers placed Jackson on an exempt list, which prohibited him from playing for three more weeks.

[+] EnlargeVincent Jackson
Icon SMINo team reached a deal with Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson by the 4 p.m. deadline. Now, Jackson will not be eligible to play until after Week 6.
Now, Jackson won’t be eligible to play until after Week 6, and the likelihood a trade is remote because of the limited amount of time he would be available the rest of the season.

Here are the details of what didn’t come together in the final 48 hours, according to the source:

During the offseason and his restricted free-agency period, the source said the Chargers didn’t receive any phone calls on Jackson, who was available to teams for first-and third-round compensation. As the regular season approached and Jackson stayed out through training camp without signing his tender, trade interest started.

Initially, four teams expressed interest -- the St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks. The Lions, according to the source, dismissed the notion of a trade quickly. The source judged the interest of the Rams and Redskins as only an outside chance of happening.

Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, who stopped talking about the Jackson situation July 30 and made sure everyone in the organization was quiet on the subject starting then, wasn’t specific with teams about what he wanted. According to the source, he wanted two second-round picks, the price tag the Broncos acquired in trading wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins.

Once the regular season began, the Minnesota Vikings entered the mix. The Vikings had lost Sidney Rice to a hip injury for half the season and had migraine headache concerns with Percy Harvin.

The Vikings, according to the source, kept calling every three days or so and their interest increased over time. In trade conversations, Smith expressed a willingness to consider offers of a second- and a third-round choice or possibly a second- and a fourth-round choice, knowing Jackson would be available for a maximum of 12 games and could face a lengthy suspension if he had another DUI.

The Vikings kept increasing their offer, but it never reached Smith’s demands.

The Edwards DUI arrest also had an impact on the trade discussions. According to the source, the Rams and Seahawks -- under orders from their owners -- pulled out of the discussions after the Jets receiver’s arrest became public.

That left the Vikings as the only serious bidder, and it came down to the Chargers seeing if they could get the Vikings to reach their draft choice target level.

Smith, according to a source, was willing to make a trade if the Vikings signed Jackson to a one-year contract at $6 million and he received at least a No. 2 and a No. 4. That draft choice cost was too dear to the Vikings.

The fact that Smith hasn’t come off his demands for either two No. 2s, a No. 2 and a No. 3 or a No. 2 and No. 4 probably means Jackson will sit out the season.

Smith is willing to let Jackson hit free agency next year with the hopes he signs with a team and the Chargers could receive a third-round compensatory pick in 2012. But with no CBA after the season, there is no guarantee there will be compensatory picks.

The next opportunity for the Chargers to trade Jackson would be right before the Oct. 19 trade deadline.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer

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