By Eric Schmidt

In one of the more perplexing moves this offseason, the San Diego Chargers did not place the franchise tag on WR Vincent Jackson. Jackson is now set to become a free agent once the free agency period begins on March 13th. There is a very good chance that once he hits the open market, the physical receiver will be in another uniform next season. Vincent Jackson is already garnering some interest from other clubs.

The primary reason that the Chargers front office decided not to place the tag on Jackson was purely financial consideration. Speaking with NBC 7 in San Diego, Chargers general manager A.J. Smith told the television station that the organization didn’t feel comfortable with a $13.7 million dollar price tag on Jackson.

When asked why the Chargers didn’t franchise any player, especially Jackson, Smith replied,

“Well, Vincent’s number was very, very high. We were uncomfortable with that from the very beginning, so we took until about 30 minutes before and decided we’re not going to do that. We’ve got so much to do that we weren’t comfortable with that number. As far as taking that and putting it on another player, we just want to hold that and just move on. So some of the players that we have to do, we’ll have them long-term, or we won’t have them at all, rather than a one-year stop-gap.”

Smith continued when asked about why the number was so high regarding Jackson, “The number for wide receivers in $9-plus million right now, but because we Franchised him before, they increased the number. We knew last year the number would increase. It’s just some of the options you play to keep him in place for a year, or do a long-term deal. I think the fans know that, for a couple of years, we were uncomfortable with crossing over to that long-term. Last year we were very comfortable with the Tag, and now we’re comfortable to move on. We’ll engage him. He’s free to go anywhere in the National Football League.”

The Chargers have no one to blame but themselves for the cap number on Jackson being so high. The franchise could have simply offered Jackson the long-term contract that he wanted in 2009 and then again in 2010. The Chargers could have kept this situation in check and now wouldn’t be faced with losing their best wide receiver.
Jackson has stated that he loves playing in San Diego and would like to remain a member of the Chargers organization, but once free agency starts and the millions of dollars start getting thrown around, we’ll see if he will take a hometown discount or collect the big payday someplace else.

 

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