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Friday, August 20, 2010
Chargers smart to consider Jackson deal

By Bill Williamson

Four months after striking out in an effort to get one AFC West star receiver, the Seattle Seahawks are trying again.

The Chargers gave Seattle permission to talk contract terms with holdout Pro Bowl receiver Vincent Jackson, several sources confirmed. The same guidelines apply to the Jackson situation as did to Marshall’s. The Seahawks must come to a contract agreement with Jackson and then come to compensation terms with the Chargers. Seattle was unable to do either with Marshall and Denver before he was traded to Miami for two second-round picks.

Vincent Jackson
San Diego may find a way to deal with Vincent Jackson's holdout.
A source close to the situation said Jackson’s agents and the Seahawks have talked, but no major headway was made. Talks could continue. Still, multiple sources believe it will be a long shot that Jackson is traded to Seattle.

Jackson, who will serve a three-game suspension to start the season after two drunken divining arrests, will likely look for a contract worth around $50 million for five years -- the deal Marshall received from the Dolphins.

The compensation package San Diego general manager A.J. Smith will likely look for will probably be around the same thing Denver got for Marshall, but he could also take one second-round pick.

Even if this trade doesn’t go through, the fact that Smith gave Seattle permission to talk to Jackson is significant. Previously, Smith was reluctant to trade either Jackson or standout left tackle Marcus McNeill, who is also holding out. Smith is likely to soften his stance on trading Jackson before McNeill. The Chargers still would like to extend the McNeill’s deal at some point, but it won’t happen during the holdout. It seems unlikely that Jackson and the Chargers will ever come to an agreement.

If Seattle isn’t the trading partner (these two teams worked together in the Charlie Whitehurst deal this offseason), perhaps another team could get into the mix. One likely suitor is Washington. The Redskins, according to a source, have coveted Jackson throughout the summer.

It’s smart for San Diego to consider trading Jackson. They are so far apart in talks it seems likely Jackson will stay away from the team all season. San Diego likes its receiving crew that includes Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee and Buster Davis. It thinks its offense is potent enough to win without Jackson.

By trading him now, it allows everyone to move forward and it ends one distraction for the team. Plus, it would allow San Diego, which already has a load of 2011 draft picks, to become major power brokers in next year’s draft.

San Diego should get aggressive. If you’re not going to sign Jackson, you might as well flip him for value.

Friday is a key date for Jackson and McNeill. Neither player has signed their restricted free-agent tenders, so the Chargers are expected to exercise their rights. The team sent both players letters last week stating that they'll be placed on the roster exempt list if they don't sign tenders by the deadline.

Players who don’t sign the tender by Aug. 20 are ineligible to play for three games after signing the tender. That means both players would have to sign by the eighth week of the regular season to be able to accrue a season and be eligible for free agency in 2011.

This could be tricky if the team decides to trade Jackson after the start of the season. It would mean Jackson would have to miss three games with his new team. So, there will likely be urgency to finalize a deal on the part of teams that want to trade for Jackson.

San Diego may be willing to dance with many teams in the next few weeks.