San Diego Chargers Battle of Egos Keeping Vincent Jackson Around

Todd KaufmannSenior Writer IAugust 27, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Wide receiver Vincent Jackson #83 of the San Diego Chargers runs with the ball after a catch against the New York Jets during  AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Vincent Jackson is still holding out and, the way things look, it doesn't seem likely that it's going to end any time soon.

It seemed like the Chargers were going to come up with a way that would make both parties happy. Jackson would be traded to another team and the Chargers would get players back in return. Everyone's happy, right? Not so much.

After having already put Jackson on the roster-exempt list, meaning he'll miss the first three to six games depending on if or when he signs, the Chargers told him and his agent that they'd be open to trading the wide receiver.

If you've been in San Diego long enough and you've listened to the sports radio stations in town, you know about the controversy surrounding general manager A.J. Smith and the massive ego he apparently is said to have.

I can imagine Jackson felt a little bit betrayed when the team got a contract extension done with tight end Antonio Gates before a new deal was discussed between him and other holdout, offensive lineman Marcus McNeill.

But then this story took a strange turn. According to Jackson's agent, Neil Schwartz, they are only allowed to negotiate a trade with the Seattle Seahawks. That's when he began to get calls from other teams with their interest in the wide receiver but Schwartz had to tell them that he was not allowed to talk trade with any of them.

Scott Bair, who covers the Chargers for the North County Times, talked to Schwartz about the situation and found even more disturbing twists and turns.

Schwartz told Bair that he and his client wanted to be able to talk to other teams so they went to the Chargers and asked for a list of teams they would not trade Jackson to. The Chargers refused to give them such a list.

After they received denial of that kind of a list, they asked what the Chargers were seeking in return for the trade of his client. Again, the Chargers declined.

It was at this point, according to Bair, that Schwartz came up with the notion that the Chargers weren't really willing to trade Jackson to Seattle or anywhere else, for that matter.

As it stands right now, the Chargers have a one-year tender offer worth $3.268 million that Jackson is unwilling to sign and is yet to report to camp. It doesn't look like the Chargers are willing to give him a long term deal unless they're trying to prove a point about Jackson's off-the-field problems, including a recent arrest for driving under the influence.

Jackson has already been suspended for three games by the NFL for that arrest, and he will miss at least three to six additional games, depending on when or if he signs with the team due to being put on the roster-exempt list.

He's going to miss a quarter to half of the season as it stands right now, and there's no long-term contract offer coming down the pike any time soon. Why are the Chargers not attempting to find a team that is serious about the wide receiver and being able to work out a deal that benefits both teams?

The main problem could be the ego of general manager A.J. Smith and the stubbornness of Jackson. One is playing hardball, the other won't sign a one-year tender. The battle between the two egos could be the one reason why something hasn't been worked out at this point.

One thing the Chargers could do that could make both Jackson and offensive tackle McNeill happy is signing both to higher one-year contracts, as was talked about by Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune in his article back in June of this year.

There's no indication that either would sign higher one-year deals, as both are wanting multiple year extensions.

The problem with giving players long-term contracts, especially right now, is the expected labor stoppage after the 2010 season comes to a close. There haven't been that many handed out this past off season and the Jackson/McNeill tandem aren't the only ones that haven't reported to camp for the same reason. Another player that hasn't is Patriots' offensive lineman Logan Mankins, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss.

Worse case scenario, both Jackson and McNeill can hold out for the entire year as both have threatened to do. Best case scenario is they both sign their tenders after the 10th game of the season to still be considered to have played a full season.

What happens after this season, and how long this supposed work stoppage is going to last is anyone's guess. Fans are just hoping it is resolved before training camp gets underway next year.

As for the Chargers, it seems that they'll continue to play hardball with both Jackson and McNeill. It's almost a game of chicken. Who's going to blink first?