The NFL and NFL Players Association will have an arbitration hearing next Thursday to argue over whether wide receiver Vincent Jackson(notes) is subject to being kept on a three-game roster exemption list even if he is traded by the San Diego Chargers to another team. The ruling is expected to have a significant impact on whether Jackson gets traded.
NFLPA attorney Richard Berthelsen said the hearing would be held in Manhattan in front of arbitrator Rosemary Townley, who will then have up to five working days to render a decision. However, it's expected that Townley will rule faster, perhaps as early as the next day.
Jackson, who is hoping for a long-term deal after refusing to sign a one-year tender as a restricted free agent with San Diego, has been suspended for the first three games of the season for violating the substance abuse policy. If and when he returns to the Chargers, he then would miss three games because the Chargers placed him on the roster exempt list.
However, the NFLPA has argued that the roster exempt status only applies if Jackson remains with the Chargers. The union believes that any team acquiring Jackson in trade would not have to have him sit an additional three weeks.
Townley's ruling will have an impact on whether some teams may be interested in trading for Jackson. So far, three teams have received permission from San Diego to speak with Jackson's agents, Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod, about a possible contract with Jackson.
The Seattle Seahawks, who confirmed last month they received permission to speak with Jackson about contract terms, have passed on trying to acquire the holdout receiver. The same applies to the St. Louis Rams, who were also granted permission to negotiate a deal, according to two sources close to the situation. A third undisclosed team agreed to a one-year deal with Jackson last Saturday, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. However, when the Chargers and that franchise could not work out a trade, the deadline passed to get the deal done before the three-game roster exemption kicked in.