Vikings-Chargers deal for Jackson looks bleak
The San Diego Chargers have been offered a second-round pick and a conditional pick in 2011 by the Minnesota Vikings for wide receiver Vincent Jackson(notes), three sources said Tuesday, but that deal looks dead because the Chargers have asked for a second- and third-round pick for 2011.
The Vikings, who are willing to sign Jackson to a one-year deal worth approximately $6 million, would throw in the conditional pick for the Pro Bowl receiver if they signed him to a long-term contract. Jackson would replace wide receiver Sidney Rice(notes), who will miss at least the first half of the season after hip surgery in training camp.
The Chargers are asking for the second- and third-rounders based on the price the Denver Broncos got for wide receiver Brandon Marshall(notes) in April. The Broncos received two second-round picks for Marshall from the Miami Dolphins. However, the Dolphins made the deal after agreeing to a five-year, $47.5 million deal with Marshall.
In this case, the Vikings may get Jackson for only 12 games.
The Chargers may ultimately get little or nothing for Jackson if he, his agents and the team that eventually signs him has their way. The indication from two sources is that Jackson may structure a long-term contract with another team that includes very little money in the first year, a key component for how compensatory draft picks are determined.
Both Chargers general manager A.J. Smith and agent Neil Schwartz, who represents Jackson, declined to discuss the situation.
All three sources were pessimistic about a deal getting done with either the Vikings or an unidentified team that is willing to sign Jackson to a long-term deal. The Chargers have until 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday to trade Jackson so that he can play by the fifth game of the season with a team that acquires him.
Under NFL rules, Jackson can’t play with the Chargers until the seventh game of the season at the earliest. Jackson is currently serving a three-game suspension for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy and will have to miss an additional three games afterward with the Chargers because San Diego put him on the roster exempt list.
A compromise between the NFL and the NFL Players Association last week limited the amount of time Jackson would have to miss because of the roster exempt status to one game with another team.
As for San Diego’s chances of getting a compensatory pick in 2012, Jackson could easily seek to hurt the Chargers’ chances after going through the current contract dispute. The Chargers have refused to move Jackson to this point under the assumption this will get a relatively high compensatory pick if he signs a lucrative deal elsewhere.
The Chargers employed that tactic in 2007 with former running back Michael Turner(notes), keeping him that season and then letting him sign with Atlanta in 2008. The Chargers eventually ended up getting two fourth-round compensatory picks in 2009 after all of their free-agent gains and losses from 2008 were determined.
Under the best-case scenario, the Chargers could get a compensatory pick at the end of the third round in 2012 for Jackson, who has no plans to show up without a long-term deal, even for the final six games of this season, a source said.
However, one of the factors that weighs heavily on compensatory picks is the amount of money a player gets as a free agent. Jackson might be obliged to structure a deal in such a way that he doesn’t get a hefty payday right away, hurting the Chargers in the process.
The other issue is that there is a chance that the compensatory system could be shelved or seriously altered.
The NFLPA has been following the Jackson situation closely over the past several weeks and has become increasingly concerned about the idea that teams are keeping players for one year rather than either signing the players to long-term deals or trading those players to teams willing to sign them.