Vincent Jackson's future uncertain

Updated: July 26, 2011, 2:36 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson held out for the first seven games of last season, was suspended for the next three and was slapped with the franchise tag before the lockout began.

Even with the lockout over, Jackson's long-term future in San Diego is uncertain -- that much is for sure.

"Vincent is a great player for us and we drafted him with high expectations," Chargers general manager A.J. Smith told the San Diego Union Tribune on Monday night. "As you know, we have decided to move slowly toward any long-term commitment at this time. But if he and his agents' five-year, $50 million position remains steadfast, the odds are extremely high that he will be headed elsewhere. We have so many players to consider -- both short-term and long-term over the next two years."

One of Jackson's agents, Neil Schwartz, did not respond to a message left by the Union-Tribune, but according to the paper, Schwartz and his partner Jonathan Feinsod have denied they have sought $50 million.

The Chargers, like the other 31 NFL clubs, have a short period of time to hammer out their priorities before shaping their 2011 roster in a hectic and lockout-shortened offseason.

"It's much too early to be lining up a priority list right now," Smith told the paper. "But I strongly believe to maintain a winning program that is consistently competitive and player caliber every year, you just cannot pay all your great players maximum contracts. Hard decisions must be made all the time in the NFL. We make them here. The potential of Vincent's situation being a very difficult decision for us is real, for sure."

The 28-year-old Jackson, a 6-foot-5 receiver who had consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in 2008 and 2009, received the Chargers' non-exclusive franchise tag in February, but did not sign the tag before owners initiated the lockout.

Jackson's original five-year contract expired after his 2009 Pro Bowl season. Unhappy that he didn't get a long-term deal, Jackson refused to sign a $3,268,000, one-year tender as a restricted free agent in 2010. He sat out the first seven games, then reported in time to serve a three-game suspension on the roster exempt list.

Jackson was on the active roster for the final six games to accrue a season toward unrestricted free agency. When Jackson hadn't signed the tender by June 15, the Chargers slashed their offer to 110 percent of his 2009 salary, or $583,000. Due to the games he missed, he made less than $300,000 in 2010.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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