Vincent Jackson's agent: Deals were in place but no trades were made for Chargers receiver
Agent Neil Schwartz said he heard from multiple general managers, whom he declined to identify, that the Chargers were asking for “wholly unreasonable” compensation for Jackson, a Pro Bowler who had two straight 1,000-yard seasons. Schwartz said another GM told him that Chargers general manager A.J. Smith seemed to be “squatting” on Jackson.
“Multiple teams have told me that they can't get a deal done with A.J. and some of the teams have referred to A.J. as ‘The Lord of No Rings,' " Schwartz said. “That's how they characterized him.”
Smith, who has a history of hardball dealings with players, didn't return a call seeking comment.
Schwartz said the legal language with one team was already drawn up and ready for Jackson to read and sign. That was a one-year deal with an option, with an average salary of more than $9 million. Schwartz declined to identify that team. It was widely reported that the Vikings were a major suitor.
Under terms of a deal arranged by the NFL and the players' union, Jackson had to sign a new contract by 1 p.m. PDT Wednesday in order to play for a new team in Week 5. Now, he'll have to finish serving the remainder of his three-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy — he pleaded guilty in February to his second DUI since 2006 — and serve a three-game suspension on the roster exempt list if he does sign.
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 Schwartz 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 Norv Turner. He loves the city of San Diego. He loves catching the ball from Philip Rivers.”
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 over not receiving a long-term deal in the off-season, 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% of their 2009 salaries, essentially cutting $2.5 million off the tenders. If either reports this year, 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 on 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 helped contribute to the Chargers missing the playoffs that year.
-- Associated Press
Photo: Vincent Jackson. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times