There has been a lot of heat on AJ Smith and Dean Spanos in the past couple of months for the Vincent Jackson debacle. For all the right moves they've made in the past, this problem put a blemish on their behinds that had fans ridiculously calling for AJ Smith's head and then subsequently Norv Turner's head also.
Let's be honest: AJ Smith isn't the bad guy here. Neither is Dean Spanos or Norv Turner. I'm not an AJ Smith/Dean Spanos/Norv Turner apologist, I'm telling things the way they are for what they truly are. The truth here is that Jackson screwed up all on his own. How so, you ask? Simple. He just didn't take care of his part of the game.
Business and football are almost like an oxymoron, as players just want to play, while owners don't play and make business decisions that affect those that play. Jackson says he wanted to play. Ownership wanted him to play. AJ Smith wanted him to play. Hell, Philip Rivers would have loved for him to play. Problem comes when Jackson wants to do business.
Jackson wanted a contract similar to that of what Brandon Marshall got from the Miami Dolphins. Does he deserve it? That can argued in his favor for sure. I believe without a doubt that the Chargers would have given him a contract he'd have been happy with. That I'm sure of. Even if he didn't get a contract with the Chargers, he would have gotten a great contract elsewhere for his services.
The only reason the Chargers didn't bother with him as much this past offseason was because of his DUIs. Not one, but two DUIs. Why should the Chargers invest heavily in him when there is a possibility of that investment being incarcerated for a possible third DUI and being out for who knows how long?
Case in point, Jackson should have just played. That's the entire point of this article. He should have just played the game. Instead, he thought that hiring Neil Schwartz as his agent was going to help matters. It got worse.
I'm not sure what Schwartz told his client, Jackson, but I'm sure it went something like, "Don't worry Vincent, I can get you a big-time contract similar to Brandon Marshall by strong-arming the Chargers into doing it. I'll strong-arm the Chargers just like I did the Jets with my other famous and now rich client, Darrell Revis."
Wake up Schwartz, this is AJ Smith you're dealing with. Jackson is an idiot for hiring this guy, as he should know what to expect from AJ Smith by now.
Jackson saw the likes of Antonio Gates suspended a couple of games trying to hold out. Now Gates has a long-term contract with the Chargers that made him the richest TE during the time of his signing. All Gates did was put his pride aside and worked. Gates played the game, which is something he is really good at and the business side took care of itself.
All Jackson had to do was play the game. That's it. It's really that simple. Look at him now—he wasted an entire season holding out and playing a couple of games for what football players may deem to be "peanuts."
If the Chargers do franchise tag him, it would behoove him to sign the contract. It will work out better for him in the future. The only person that loses in this entire episode is Jackson. The sad part is, he's bitter about it and he should have known better. Hopefully he won't make the same mistake twice this upcoming season.