That Vincent Jackson is still part of the San Diego Chargers organization on Thursday makes you wonder what’s more important to the franchise: Winning football games or letting their players know there is a one-way dictatorship in place.

Chargers general manager A.J. Smith erred badly by not trading Jackson before a Wednesday deadline that would have allowed Jackson to play for another NFL team in the fifth week of the season. Now the soonest Jackson can play this season is the seventh week and his trade value will only diminish.

The All-Pro receiver is in a dispute with club management that promises to only become more acrimonious – and perhaps more humorous – as time goes on.

One of Jackson’s agents pulled out the great one-line moniker my former cohort, Jay Paris, placed on Smith several years ago – “The Lord of No Rings” – after angrily questioning Smith’s motives after a trade wasn’t completed before the deadline.

Yahoo! Sports reported that the Minnesota Vikings had agreed to contract terms with Jackson but Smith and the Chargers refused to budge on their asking price.

Smith’s antics make no sense in that he has already made it clear the franchise has no intention of paying Jackson the current rate for top-flight receivers, which is in the vicinity of a five-year, $50 million contract.

The organization has tired of Jackson’s off-field issues (two DUI arrests) and immaturity and doesn’t feel he’s worthy of a long-term commitment.

No problem with that. It certainly is the franchise’s prerogative to decide which players it wants to invest in for the long term.

But turning down a second-round pick for Jackson when free-agent compensatory picks will only provide a lower return a year from now when Jackson eventually leaves is just plain silly. The Chargers have gone that route before and it was a major failure both times.

They let quarterback Drew Brees leave as a free agent and got a third-round pick as compensation. They used the pick on a linebacker named Anthony Waters, a bust who played in all of seven games for the Chargers.

That’s a pretty weak return for a starting quarterback. And it was a poor decision well before Brees became a superstar and a Super Bowl winning quarterback for the New Orleans Saints.

They also wanted two high draft picks for running back Michael Turner – a first-rounder and a third – when he was a restricted free agent and couldn’t work out a deal. Turner eventually left as a free agent and all the Chargers got was a fourth-round compensatory pick in exchange.

Hardly a fair exchange for Turner, who tied for second in the NFL MVP voting in 2008 after racking up 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Atlanta Falcons.

If you watched the Chargers’ season-opening loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, you saw how San Diego struggled to open the field up vertically without Jackson’s big-play ability. The Chiefs routinely put two or three defenders on Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates and that offensive wizard named Norv Turner was powerless to adjust on the fly without his game-breaking 1,000-yard receiver on the field.

So at some point this season, it will again be apparent that the Chargers badly miss Jackson. If you’re trying to win a “world championship,” as Smith often terms a Super Bowl title, you might want to have your best players on the field and not watching games on television.

The Chargers also are in a dispute with left tackle Marcus McNeill. Funny how the other 31 NFL teams can figure out solutions with their players but the Chargers can’t.

So if the Chargers come up empty again this season – remember, they have three first-game playoff collapses on their ledger since 2004 – the blame shouldn’t fall on Turner or the players.

It should go to the second floor, where a silver-haired man likes to stand on his office balcony and lord over the practice field.

Ah yeah, “The Lord of No Rings.”

The moniker certainly fits.

  1. smokkee says:

    AJ Smith called VJax and his agent’s bluff. The agent mistakenly convinced VJax not to sign his 1yr $3.2m tender offer and holdout instead. They convinced their client he should be a top paid WR.

    Brandon Marshall was traded to Miami for two 2nd round picks. AJ wanted at least a 2nd rounder and conditional pick. An agreement couldn’t be made.

    VJax’s agent is now pissed how things have worked out and it’s showing in their comments toward management. Is that the best way to get a future deal for your client? He still hasn’t signed anywhere and it looks like he’s going to miss and entire year, maybe more due to the possible lockout.

    Oh and by the way, his two DUI’s and driving on a suspended license the day of the Jets playoff game didn’t help his cause.

  2. Mikey says:

    Gee, guess who signed his tender today? The player the Chargers actually want!

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