NFL suspends Jackson for three games

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the NFL has suspended Chargers’ restricted free agent Vincent Jackson for three games this season. The suspension stems from the receiver’s two DUIs, although it can also be appealed.

Earlier this week I discussed possible trade partners for Jackson if the Chargers eventually decide to deal him. He has already stated his intentions to hold out if GM A.J. Smith doesn’t abide by his wishes for a new contract, or trades him to a team that will invest in him long-term.

Interestingly, Schefter also reports that even if Jackson follows through with his holdout threats, the suspension will still start in Week 1 no matter what. If that’s the case (there’s no reason to doubt Schefter), then it gives V-Jax all the more reason to follow through with his holdout, seeing as how he won’t be playing the first couple of weeks anyway. He could ultimately holdout through training camp on the first couple of weeks to see if the Chargers offer him a long-term deal and then make his decision before Week 4.

That said, no matter what Jackson does, Smith isn’t going to give in. He’s a hard-nosed executive that doesn’t bow to plays threats or demands. If he wants Jackson to play on a one-year tender, then that’s probably the receiver’s best and only option. We’ll just have to wait and see if either side gives in, although my money is on Smith standing firm.

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Vincent Jackson’s holdout to last into season?

The situation in San Diego involving Vincent Jackson and the Chargers is getting uglier by the day.

Earlier this offseason, the Chargers extended first and third round tenders on Jackson (a restricted free agent), meaning he would make just over $3 million in 2010. But Jackson wants a long-term contract and has decided to skip all of the team’s organized activities this offseason and is now prepared to sit out into the season if he doesn’t receive a new deal.

The Chargers, meanwhile, have issued a warning to the 27-year-old receiver and tackle Marcus McNeill (who is in a similar boat as Jackson) letting them know that their one-year tenders would be drastically reduced if they didn’t sign them by June 15.

What a threat. I’m sure Jackson and McNeill are currently huddled together in a corner somewhere, shaking uncontrollably at the thought of their tenders reducing from $3 to $1.5 million or whatever the Chargers have in mind. The two players want long-term deals, so threatening them with reduced offers isn’t going to do anything. That’s like telling a child that instead of having the opportunity to play with three crappy toys, he’ll only get the chance to play with one crappy toy if he doesn’t clean up his room. All the toys are crappy – he doesn’t want to play with any of them and therefore, the parent isn’t going to get what he or she wants in the end.

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Progress shown in Merriman contract talks?

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Shawne Merriman’s new agent met for two hours on Thursday with Charger GM A.J. Smith and chief negotiator Ed McGuire. Given Tom Condon’s (Merriman’s former agent) poor relationship with Smith, this is a good sign for the linebacker as he pursues a long-term deal.

“We had a meeting with David that was very productive and enlightening on a number of fronts,” Smith said. “Regarding Shawne, I told him we are open-minded regarding his situation. We have many other player situations to ponder in the year ahead.”

It is all but certain that in Thursday’s meeting the parties addressed the Chargers’ attempts to trade Merriman and the likelihood of a contract extension now and in the future.

Merriman, like many restricted free agents caught in the NFL’s labor strife, is unhappy with the fact he received a one-year tender offer.

Additionally, the three-time Pro Bowler is disenchanted with the fact Smith has no plans to give him a long-term contract.

If it were up to the Chargers, they would love to see Merriman play on his one-year tender and then reassess the situation after the 2010 season. A serious knee injury limited him in 2008 and when he returned last year, he struggled while only posting four sacks.

It doesn’t make sense for the Bolts to sign Merriman to a long-term deal not knowing how productive he’s going to be in the future – especially considering they drafted his eventual replacement in Larry English last year. That said, if Merriman turns out to be the player he was in his first three years, then the team risks upsetting him and him moving on after the season.

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