Thursday, October 14, 2010
VJ, Chargers could make best of situation
By Bill Williamson
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting that to ensure he is a free agent in the future, San Diego Chargers holdout receiver Vincent Jackson will end his holdout and report to the Chargers by Oct. 31.
He will be doing so begrudgingly. There is no love lost between Jackson and the Chargers' brass.
When a trade window closed last month without Jackson being dealt elsewhere despite him having a new deal with another team, Jackson’s side was furious. His agents blasted San Diego general manager A.J. Smith. There were no intentions by Jackson’s side that he’d report at any time this season.
Back then, Jackson’s side thought it would be able to enter free agency without having accrued a season in 2010. But now that the NFL Players Association has recommended to Jackson that he report, he has no choice. If not, Jackson is in danger of being in this situation a year from now. To get what he wants -- a long-term deal elsewhere -- Jackson is going to have to report. Jackson could still be traded, but that appears to be unlikely.
He is facing a three-game roster exemption if he reports to the Chargers, so he must report by Oct. 31. Jackson would then be eligible to play in the final six games of the season.
It will be interesting to see how much Jackson plays down the stretch. He certainly would be a great late-season addition for San Diego as it heads for the stretch run. The Chargers already have the No. 1-ranked offense in the NFL without Jackson.
Jackson may not have intentions of staying in San Diego, but he does like his teammates and coaches there. As long as he is in uniform, expect him to play well and further make his case for a big contract in free agency. The Chargers certainly wouldn’t complain about having a Pro Bowl receiver on their side as they make a playoff push. I’m sure San Diego coach Norv Turner wouldn’t hesitate to mix Jackson into his offense, even if it were for just six games. It’s like Philip Rivers always said: The Chargers are fine now on offense, but they would be better with Jackson.
The developments likely would do nothing to repair the long-term relationship between Jackson and the Chargers, but it could provide a nice parting gift for each side.