Vincent Jackson to rejoin San Diego Chargers in unexpected move
After holding out for a long-term contract the first two months of the NFL season, and not getting offered one by general manager A.J. Smith, Jackson will return to the team in an inexpensive, and unexpected move.
Jackson will first serve a three-game, team-imposed suspension, but the Pro Bowl receiver should be eligible to play at Indianapolis Nov. 28.
By rejoining the team, Jackson will qualify as an unrestricted free agent for next season – something he couldn’t have been had he continued his holdout past Oct. 31. This would’ve made him ineligible to sign with another team next year. For this reason, some suspected Jackson would rejoin the team before the Halloween deadline, despite the wide out repeatedly stating he wouldn’t play this year.
And as it turns out, he will play. But instead of the $3.2 million he would have accrued this year for playing the whole season, Jackson will earn less than a 13th of that as he pads up for the remainder of the schedule.
The 27-year-old receiver is among the best in the league. Jackson is coming off two consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns in which he reeled in 16 touchdowns and was the team’s leader in reception yardage.
Perhaps Smith’s aversion to handing over a long-term tender to Jackson is the wide out’s inclinations off the field.
Since joining the Chargers, Jackson has twice been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. And just hours before San Diego’s playoff loss against the New York Jets a season ago, Jackson was handcuffed for driving with a suspended license and expired tags. His car was then impounded and Jackson hitched a ride to the game with quarterback Phillip Rivers.
But it may not be unreasonable to think Jackson could still get offered a long-term contract from San Diego. Offensive lineman and teammate Marcus McNeill also held out for similar reasons this year until rejoining the squad Sept. 25. Upon returning from his team-imposed, three-game suspension, McNeill accepted a five-year contract extension worth $48.5 million, with $24.5 million guaranteed.
Also, the Chargers could have traded Jackson this year, but elected not to.
Whether Jackson will be in San Diego in the future or not, head coach Norv Turner says he’s glad to have him back this season.
“If Vincent reports, I’ll be excited to see him,” Turner said in a statement.
Check out Jackson’s highlights from last season:
Photo by Jeffrey Beall.