Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Updated: September 23, 11:16 AM ET
Vincent Jackson not dealt by deadline
By John Clayton and Bill Williamson
The San Diego Chargers have rejected several trade offers for wide receiver Vincent Jackson, letting the Wednesday deadline to trade him pass without making a deal.
In a text message to the NFL Network, Jackson said he believes the way the Chargers are handling the situtation is "unethical."
"I just don't understand why [a trade didn't happen]," he texted. "They obviously think I'm a valuable player by asking for such high trade compensation, but why am I only offered tender salary?
"My agents and teams interested did everything to make it happen, but this organization stopped it. I just want to play football. It feels unethical and I am disappointed."
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.
By letting Wednesday's deadline pass, the Chargers will keep Jackson on the exempt list for the first six weeks of the season. San Diego still can trade him by the Oct. 19 trade deadline.
"We had multiple offers, and the Chargers squashed them all," said Jonathan Feinsod, one of Jackson's agents.
The Minnesota Vikings were willing to give up a second-round draft choice and an additional conditional pick to the Chargers, a source said. Another source said Jackson had even worked out a financial package with the Vikings.
Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said he would trade Jackson only if he received the right value and he would make a trade only with a team of his choosing.
The Vikings, according to the source, called every three days to express interest. In trade conversations, Smith expressed a willingness to consider offers of a second- and third-round choice or possibly a second- and 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.
With Pro Bowl receiver Sidney Rice out for at least another month and reigning offensive rookie of the year Percy Harvin not practicing Wednesday because of a migraine, the Vikings have only four healthy receivers on the roster, none of whom has been productive in 2010.
Smith, according to a source, was willing to make a trade if the Vikings signed Jackson to a one-year deal worth $6 million, with the Chargers receiving at least a No. 2 and No. 4 pick. That draft-choice cost was too much for the Vikings.
Feinsod was critical of Smith, saying, "Archie Manning had it right," a reference to Manning's reluctance to have son Eli play for San Diego after he was drafted by the team in 2004. "They call [Smith] the Lord of No Rings for a reason."
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 Neil Schwartz, another of Jackson's agents, said it's unlikely Jackson will play this season under terms of the team's contract tender.
"Not now, not ever," Schwartz said. "Again, it's up to the Chargers. He's got nothing with [coach] Norv Turner. He loves the city of San Diego. He loves catching the ball from Philip Rivers."
Said Rivers: "I wish him all the best. I'd love to get the opportunity to throw to him again, but if that's not the case, I want it to work out for him."
Turner declined comment.
"It's been the same since we started camp. We get the guys ready who are here," the coach said.
Jackson's original five-year contract expired after last season. But because this is an uncapped year, he would have needed six seasons to become an unrestricted free agent.
Unhappy about 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 season, it would be for the final six games in order to accrue a season toward unrestricted free agency.
Smith placed Jackson and McNeill on the roster exempt list Aug. 20. He used the same tactic on tight end Antonio Gates in 2005. Gates missed the opener, a close loss to the Dallas Cowboys that contributed to the Chargers missing the playoffs that season.
John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Bill Williamson covers the AFC West for ESPN.com. Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.