According to his Twitter account, Chargers WR Vincent Jackson "made no demands" regarding a settlement for his role as a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the NFL. Reports persist that Jackson and Patriots OG Logan Mankins are asking for $10 million or the right to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason in exchange for their agreement to drop the suit.
While he might not have demanded it, we hear that the fact remains that Jackson would prefer to be on the open market when free agency begins as opposed to being the Chargers' franchise player. Last offseason, Jackson was put into a tough situation because of the previous CBA expiring, forcing him to accept a one-year tender instead of negotiating a long-term contract with the team. The receiver protested by holding out for much of the regular season, but it didn't help his cause. In February, the Chargers once again eliminated his chances of working out a contract extension by giving him the franchise tag, a one-year contract worth the average of the five highest-paid receivers in the league.
So even though he likely would be the top wide receiver on the market, Jackson appears to be stuck in San Diego for another season on a one-year deal, unless a team is willing to trade multiple draft choices to the Bolts and give the receiver a lengthy contract. According to a PFW source, the team was frustrated with the receiver's off-field actions last year, which included a three-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, along with the holdout. In response, Jackson is frustrated with the organization for not allowing him to negotiate a deal in each of the past two offseasons.
The language of the new CBA will determine if teams can give the same player the franchise tag multiple times, but even if they are allowed to do so, expect 2011 to be the last year Jackson plays in San Diego. His price tag would be even higher next summer if tagged again, and the Chargers are unlikely to make Jackson the highest-paid player at his position considering his off-field baggage.
Neither side might like it, but the team and player appear to be stuck with each other for the short-term future. Once the 2011 season is done, however, expect the two sides to go their separate ways without looking back.
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