Drama coming to a close for Jackson, Chargers

This off-season has been a trying one to say the least for both the Chargers and their embattled wide receiver Vincent Jackson.

First came the news that Jackson would not be eligible for free agency, with the NFL owners and Player’s Association unable to reach an accord on a new collective bargaining agreement, keeping hundreds of players in a restricted status due to the rules of an uncapped season.

Then Jackson was hit with a three game suspension by the league for his off-the-field conduct, which has been far from exemplary, making it all but impossible for him to work out a long term deal with San Diego prior to the start of the season.

That turned out to be the nail in Jackson’s coffin so to speak, as it concerns the Chargers, as he made it clear at the start of training camp that he would not return to practice without a new contract in hand. San Diego’s front office seemingly took offense to that approach and placed Jackson on the roster exempt list, adding on an additional three games to his suspension, making him ineligible to return until week seven at the earliest.

Both sides then engaged in a war of words, which escalated throughout the pre-season, and culminated with Jackson’s agent accusing the team of refusing valid trade offers in an attempt to derail Jackson’s career. At the time, both the Seahawks and the Rams were close to reaching a deal with the Chargers to acquire Jackson, but neither offer was enough to convince San Diego to trade him away.

All of that is likely to become moot, with the league and the NFLPA hammering out a compromise of sorts this afternoon to allow Jackson to return to playing status as early as week five, if a trade is worked out prior to a deadline of Wednesday, September 22nd at 4:00 pm.

Given the reduction in his suspension, there’s little doubt that teams in need of a quality wide receiver will be contacting the Chargers very soon, if they haven’t already. The top contenders for Jackson’s services remain the same from previous trade discussions, with Minnesota, St. Louis, and Seattle leading the way.

Out of those three clubs, the Vikings have the biggest need for an upgrade in their receiving corps, as they have a definite shot at making it to the Super Bowl this season if things work out the right way.

It was strikingly clear last Thursday in New Orleans that Minnesota was not the same team it was a year ago, with star receiver Sidney Rice unable to play due to the surgery he had in the pre-season. Without him on the field, the Vikings looked lost at times offensively, and while Jackson would definitely need some time to adjust to their playbook and quarterback Brett Favre’s style, there’s little doubt that his presence would give Minnesota a leg up on their competition.

A darkhorse option could come into play before things are all said and done, as there are teams that definitely have a need for a top flight receiver now after watching their current group struggle immensely in week one. San Francisco, Washington, and Atlanta all come to mind, and while it’s possible that none of these three are considering making a move, it’s likely that they’d be open to the acquisition if the price is right.

As always, we’ll keep you posted with any news that becomes available.

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  1. Jackson ends holdout, returning to Chargers
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