A lot of people have asking me about V.J. lately. It’s not often that we get a bone thrown at us that hasn’t been thrown by A.J. Smith before, so I don’t know why so many are so confused. A lot of people are confused about what’s going on or whose fault this is. If you really can’t grasp that the whole thing is situational then I can see why V.J. and Big Mac (McNeill) haven’t come to their senses either.
I have explained the whole thing before in previous posts, but now you get to hear it straight from the general managers mouth. A.J. Smith recently said:
“In a normal year, we would be doing contracts.”
The problem is, that this is NOT a normal year. This is the final league year of the collective bargaining agreement and until a new one is put into effect we cannot be sure that there will even be an NFL season taking place in 2011. You can’t expect to be paid in a year where you might not even be playing the game, and you really can’t expect Smith to change his stance on it. He will even tell you:
“My philosophy has not changed. I want to identify people and keep them. Under normal conditions, maybe we would have signed them. It’s a unique year, a difficult year.”
Even if this was not the case, even in a normal year, I am positive that Antonio Gates and Marcus McNeill would both be getting contracts before Vincent Jackson anyways.
The one thing that is really taking leverage away from Jackson is the three game suspension that he has looming at the beginning of the season. It makes V.J. vulnerable to further toying from A.J. and his puppet strings. Jason La Canfora of NFL.com notes that:
According to the roster exemption rules in the CBA, if Jackson doesn’t report to the Chargers by at least the day before their fourth preseason game, then whenever he does sign, he still could be placed on the roster exempt list for an additional three games — without pay. The Chargers, who already have lowered their tender and are locked in a bitter feud with the Pro Bowl receiver, would have to notify Jackson and the NFL Players Association of their intent to place him on roster exempt at least five days before the team’s second preseason game.
Ouch. After lowering the tender and bringing in Josh Reed, this will just place a little bit more of managements foot on top of the receivers potential contract.
Still think that Jackson has a bit of leverage left? Guess again. If he waits to sign his tender until week ten as previously expected and then placed on the teams roster exempt list, then the accrued season would be unobtainable. The only way to get the accrued season would be to show up and sign in week seven. That’s three weeks earlier than expected. Combine that with the suspension and you will see that there is NOTHING (at all) to gain from holding out.