Thursday, September 16, 2010
Updated: September 17, 11:23 AM ET
Vincent Jackson settlement reached
By Adam Schefter
San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson will be eligible to play in Week 5 if he's traded under the terms of a settlement between the NFL and the players' union.
The NFL and the NFL Players Association settled the case in talks on Thursday, the same day Jackson was to appeal for his suspension to be halved to three games. The settlement provides for Jackson to sit out a total of four weeks -- all of his league-mandated three-game suspension and one additional week with his new team. He was due to sit out six weeks as a result of the Chargers placing him on the roster exempt list.
The pact clears the way for an NFL team to acquire Jackson, a top-tier wide receiver who caught 68 passes for 1,167 yards and nine touchdowns last season, for most of the season.
But the agreement comes with a deadline: The Chargers have from 4 p.m. ET on Friday to 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday to trade Jackson in order for him to miss only four games. Otherwise, he's back to sitting out six games.
A moratorium will be in effect until 4 p.m. ET Friday, during which any club interested in trading for Jackson must receive permission from the Chargers before speaking with his agents about contract terms. Trade compensation must be negotiated directly with the Chargers. San Diego may not trade Jackson until after the moratorium has expired.
Earlier this month, Jackson's agents said trade talks failed between the Chargers and an unnamed team, after Jackson agreed to terms for a new contract but San Diego and the unnamed team couldn't agree on compensation.
The Minnesota Vikings reportedly are interested in Jackson, who's coming off two straight 1,000-yard seasons.
Jackson, who has not played or practiced a down for the Chargers while in a contract holdout, still must serve his three-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, resulting from a pair of drunken driving arrests. The Chargers had placed him on the roster exempt list, which meant Jackson would have to sit out an additional three games if he reported to San Diego.
If Jackson is traded before Wednesday, he'll be allowed to report to the new club and, at the team's discretion, be eligible to participate in activities permitted by the substance abuse policy for the remainder of his suspension. When the DUI suspension ends, he'll be permitted to practice with his new team under the roster exempt rules before the fourth game, but will be unavailable to play and cannot be paid until the fifth game.
Before the settlement was reached, Jackson was set to argue that if he is traded, he should not have to serve the additional three games because the Chargers put him on the roster exempt list, not his potential new team.
Jackson held out all of training camp and the preseason, seeking a five-year contract worth $50 million, with $30 million guaranteed, sources told ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton. San Diego has balked at giving him a new deal.
When Jackson 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.
General manager A.J. Smith placed Jackson and McNeill on the roster exempt list on Aug. 20, a hardball tactic to try to end the impasse.
Adam Schefter is an ESPN NFL Insider. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.