The Chargers are facing a difficult challenge as they prepare to play the 2010 regular season without their star receiver Vincent Jackson. Jackson is unhappy with his contract and has decided to sit out a majority of the 2010 season unless re-signed to a long term deal. However, the Chargers don't appear likely to offer him the money he wants. With the two sides at an impasse, where should the team go from here?
JACKSON THE TEAM'S BEST RECEIVER IN DECADES
I can't speak on Lance Alworth as he played well before my time, but I do know that Vincent Jackson is far better than any receiver I can remember seeing here in San Diego; certainly better than David Boston and Curtis Conway, the only two receiver who even come close.
Vincent Jackson came to San Diego unrefined but brimming with potential; the Chargers drafted Jackson knowing that he could become something great, as long as both sides remained dedicated to his development. Hard-working and coachable, Vincent Jackson steadily improved and has now emerged to be the #1 wideout many hoped he would become and moreover, a top 5 receiver in this league right now. Wide receiver is a position that generally takes a few years to learn, and if the Chargers move on without Jackson, the team will be lucky to draft and develop somebody who, four to five years from now, can emerge as Jackson has.
LEGAL TROUBLES MAKE VJ AN EXPENSIVE RISK
As has been well-documented, Jackson has had a couple of unfortunate run-ins with the law, being arrested for DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) twice. With General Manager AJ Smith's zero-tolerance policy, he seems to have considered Jackson too big of a risk to offer a significant contract to. While Jackson hasn't been a guy who is violent and ill-tempered off the field, he has made some questionable choices when it comes to drinking and driving. And already down two strikes on the count, a conservative team like the Chargers won't be willing to roll the dice in this situation.
Jackson and his agent will be expecting Brandon Marshall-type money, somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 million dollars a year. With Antonio Gates and Marcus McNeill bigger priorities for the Bolts, there doesn't seem to be enough money left for VJ, unfortunately.
TRADE JACKSON OR RETAIN HIS RIGHTS FOR THE YEAR?
The Chargers have the rights to Vincent Jackson due to an expired collective bargaining agreement. With these rights come a couple of options: the Chargers could hang on to Vincent Jackson, allow him to sit out for the majority of the year, hope he comes back for a possible playoff run, and then franchise tag him in 2011.
Or they could answer the phone calls of teams like the Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks and trade him. AJ Smith is notorious for getting big returns on his players in trades, so if a team is willing to play, the Chargers could be getting some significant draft picks in return for Jackson. Vincent Jackson is currently in Arizona working out with Redskins QB Donovan McNabb; a possible prelude to a dynamic pairing?
If you were the Chargers' General Manager, how would you approach this situation? Leave a comment below with your advice for Vincent and the Chargers front office!
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