According to a recent post on Pro Football Talk, restricted free agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson has no reason to sit the entire 2010 NFL season. After playing hardball with the Chargers and general manager A.J. Smith for months, it seems irrational on Jackson’s part to not come back at least by Week 10 of the regular season in order to gain his year of credit towards free agency.
With Jackson suspended for the first three games of the season and unlikely to show up and sign his dramatically reduced restricted free agency tender before that, the question becomes whether he’ll sign at some point after the suspension ends and before Week 10, after which time he won’t be able to play at all in 2010.
If he doesn’t show up by Week 10, the Chargers will hold the same rights to him in 2011 that they held in 2010. Jackson’s only path out of San Diego, short of a trade, lies in showing up by Week 10, earning a year of credit toward free agency, and then hoping to get out of town next year. (Since he’s not under contract, Jackson can show up after August 10 and still earn a year of credit toward free agency.)
If he doesn’t come back by then, he will be in the exact same position that he was in at the start of this off-season, which doesn’t like the most logical move on his part. But then again, this entire situation doesn’t seem all that logical to begin with.
In an article by Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Acee says that “Vincent Jackson is not part of the plan” and that he doesn’t see the Chargers “using the franchise [tag] on Jackson either”. He finishes off the rest of that with this simple line which we all have been thinking for months since this fiasco started. “This has gotten ugly.”
As this situation continues to look dimmer and dimmer for the Chargers and their hopes of bringing back Jackson, only time will tell if A.J. Smith really is bent on keeping Jackson away or if his thick skull will finally crack and he brings back a vital part of the Chargers offense.
As of right now, Jackson stands alone. The next move or lack their of is his to decide.