Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

15 Feb 2011

Chargers Franchise Vincent Jackson

Another franchise tagging: The Chargers lock up wideout Vincent Jackson with the tag.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 15 Feb 2011

30 comments, Last at 21 Feb 2011, 10:23am by Mr Shush


by Chris M (not verified) :: Tue, 02/15/2011 - 3:02pm

Yup, that'll end well.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 02/15/2011 - 3:05pm

WHAT? So they screw him out of a season last year, then do this? I am beginning to strongly dislike the Chargers. A.J. Smith can go to hell.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Tue, 02/15/2011 - 3:29pm

How did they screw him out of anything? He held out. It is a business, grow up.

I got hired to clean up a huge mess left by my antecedents who overpaid themselves and did little actual work. Now I need to work 3 times harder than they did for half the pay and no hope of a raise (because they destroyed the finances before the board finally woke up and fired them). Is that fair? No. But it is life.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 02/15/2011 - 3:38pm

Maybe you need to form a union ;-)

by Jimmy :: Tue, 02/15/2011 - 4:04pm

What does any of your rant have to do with Vincent Jackson?

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Tue, 02/15/2011 - 5:01pm

It has to do with Ninjalectual's childish comment about AJ Smith, and the similar comments I see about Owners and GMs on here all the time.

Professional football is a business. The players are not fairy princesses who live in a world of milk honey and fairness, so why pretend like they do?

by Jimmy :: Tue, 02/15/2011 - 7:07pm

Vincent Jackson had very little choice about the conditions he works in. Yes he could have gone and stacked shelves but there is a monopoly on professional football in the US (I am ignoring pissy little leagues that may exist). He could have gone to Canada - which as a third round pick he might have been able to make more money there than he has now, he would have ripped the league up and might have been able to parlay that into a Cameron Wake-like situation. The CBA under which his contractual rights are dictated was created long before he was a player (or he was a very young player) and he has suffered under rules created to push the parties towards a new agreement which neither side wanted to do. I am assuming you had a great deal more choice in whether or not you adopted your current position.

by tuluse :: Wed, 02/16/2011 - 3:40pm

I'm guessing you don't like the people who put you in that situation.

All Ninjalectual did was express that he didn't like AJ Smith's business practices. He used some flourish in his text, I doubt he really wants him to go to hell over this, but that's really it.

by Dean :: Tue, 02/15/2011 - 3:48pm

WHAT? This assclown is going to get how many millions of dollars? How many millions per DUI does that average out to? I'm beginning to strongly dislike athletes getting rewarded for simply having fast-twitch muscle fiber.

by morganja :: Wed, 02/16/2011 - 11:47pm

Well, if you can convince 100 million Americans to stop watching athletes who have fast-twitch muscle fibers than you might get your wish. Otherwise you are free to not follow football or spend money on it. Problem solved!

by Bnonymous (not verified) :: Thu, 02/17/2011 - 10:48am

Wow. I didn't think he was being subtle at all, but it sure went over your head.

by Sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 02/15/2011 - 4:51pm

They offered him a 3 million dollar tender last year, and agreed to trade him if he could reach a long term contract with some other team. He decided to hold out on his own and it burned him.

by An Onimous (not verified) :: Wed, 02/16/2011 - 7:43am

Vincent Jackson did not hold out. Holding out is when you have a contract, but refuse to honor it because you don't like the terms. Vincent Jackson did not have a contract last year. He signed a 5 year contract as a rookie, and then he played five years for the Chargers. All of his contractual obligations had been fully discharged. Due to a loophole in the CBA resulting from the voidable year, however, Vincent Jackson was not free to negotiate a new contract on the open market like he thought he would have been able to when he signed his first contract.

What Vincent Jackson did was not "holding out", it was "refusing to sign a contract well below his market value". If you were, say, a bricklayer whose services were valued at $20 an hour on the open market, and I offered you a job where I payed you $2.00 an hour, and you said "no thanks, I'm worth more than that" and refused to work for me... would that be a holdout? Or would that simply be a case of someone refusing to work for 10% of his market value?

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 02/16/2011 - 9:21pm

If I'd previously signed a contract with you which stated that under certain circumstances I would work for $2.00 an hour for a further year, and those circumstances came about, then, um, yes, I would be holding out. Jackson, and his agent, knew perfectly well that his contract would be governed by the terms of the CBA. One of those terms was an extension of free agency restrictions in the uncapped year.

He shoulda read the small print.

by An Onimous (not verified) :: Sat, 02/19/2011 - 7:46am

You previously signed a contract with me saying that you would not be free to negotiate with anyone else. You never signed a contract with me saying you would work for $2 an hour.

Vincent Jackson was not under contract. He had no obligation to the Chargers. The Chargers offered him a contract. Vincent Jackson determined that the amount offered was too small to be worth the risk of injury (why risk a $20 million payday in order to cash in on a $2 million payday?). Vincent Jackson refused to sign the contract, as was his right. He wasn't "holding out" from the Chargers, because he did not have a contract with the Chargers. Vincent Jackson was to San Diego what Barry Sanders currently is to the Detroit Lions- they own his rights, but they do not have a contract with him. Barry Sanders, should he decide to make a comeback, could only negotiate with the Detroit Lions, because that is the team that owns the rights to negotiate with him.

If Vincent Jackson was "holding out" from the Chargers, then Barry Sanders was "holding out" from the Lions last year.

by Mr Shush :: Sun, 02/20/2011 - 12:31pm

You're right; he signed a contract which said he would not under certain circumstances be able to negotiate freely with other employers, and those circumstances arose. He was of course within his rights not to play for the Chargers. I still maintain that if he has grounds to feel ill-used, his resentment ought to be directed towards his agent, the NFLPA or both, not AJ Smith or the Chargers.

by An Onimous (not verified) :: Mon, 02/21/2011 - 2:53am

Maybe this is just me, but I question how much an agent can realistically be expected to know about a loophole present in a collective bargaining agreement that DIDN'T EVEN EXIST AT THE TIME THE CONTRACT WAS NEGOTIATED. Jackson signed his contract in 2005. The most recent CBA was collectively bargained in 2006. The "6 years for UFA" loophole went into effect when it was voided in 2008. So, as you can see, it'd be pretty silly for Jackson to blame his agent. Sure, he could blame the NFLPA, but from what I hear the only sin the NFLPA committed was getting a CBA that was TOO GOOD for the players. That hardly seems like something Vincent Jackson should blame them for. No, VJax was put into his current predicament when when the owners voided the CBA, so VJax could feel free to direct some blame towards the owners. One of those owners happens to own the Chargers, by the way, so of course the Chargers organization can shoulder a bit of the blame. And while A.J. Smith acted fully within his rights as granted by the CBA, that doesn't mean that he still wasn't a giant flaming d-bag, so VJax can feel free to direct some blame his way.

Regardless, though, it's not about who is to blame. Personally, I think Jackson was really just the victim of an unforseeable circumstance. All I'm saying is that it's ludicrous to use language like "Vincent Jackson held out". Holding out implies someone was not honoring their contract, and to the contrary, Vincent Jackson honored and even outperformed his contract without ever once complaining about it or trying to renegotiate, even after the terms and conditions changed after his contract was signed. Jackson acted honorably and upheld his end of the bargain, and was then jerked around and lowballed. He made a decision that was fully within the rights granted to him and refused to risk career-threatening injury while playing for a fraction of his worth. I'm sick of seeing NFL fans try to vilify him for how he handled his contract situation. He handled it perfectly. I wish every single NFL star would handle their contract situation like Vincent Jackson- in other words, I wish they'd just shut up, honor the terms, and play out the contract, even if things changed after they signed it. And if, after that, they refuse to sign a new contract for 10% of what they could reasonably expect to get on the open market, well then, more power to them.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 02/21/2011 - 10:23am

I'm not angry with Jackson, and I guess I don't use the phrase "hold out" as specifically as you, or find it as emotive. I would use "hold out" and "decide not to play" interchangeably, and don't generally blame a player for doing either. I also for some reason thought Jackson had broken out a year earlier than he did, which makes no difference to how much it was rational for him to play this year but quite a lot to the options he had in the past that might have led to a different, mutually beneficial outcome. So yes, not a lot his agent could have done, beyond tell him well in advance what was likely to be coming.

The NFLPA, on the other hand, negotiated a deal which was very good for players who entered the league before 2005, but very bad for the 2005 and 2006 draftees. I don't think it's at all unreasonable to think that members of those two draft classes ought to be a little annoyed that the primary penalty clause built in on the players' side to encourage them to do a deal penalised them excessively and other members not at all.

In the end, it seems to me that the Spanoses, Smith and Jackson have all acted within their rights and in their respective rational self-interests. I don't see why people are getting so het up.

by Moff (not verified) :: Fri, 02/18/2011 - 3:01am

how is being a restricted free agent a loophole?

by perly :: Fri, 02/18/2011 - 2:45pm

5 year RFAs didn't exist in the NFL prior to 2010. The last time they came close to hitting the last capped year was 2006, and a new CBA was done instead. It's not quite a loophole, but the idea that Jackson should be ridiculed for being put into a bad situation by a minor term in a pretty massive agreement that was negotiated after his rookie deal is preposterous.

See also: posts implying an obligation for a player to sign an RFA tender. There is none.

by ABW (not verified) :: Tue, 02/15/2011 - 3:45pm

Is franchising players at this point really going to accomplish anything besides pissing the players off?

by Sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 02/15/2011 - 4:48pm

At this point the Franchise tag is still a legit option for teams, and it has to get used by the deadline this week. It could very well be included in the new CBA, so yes, it does have a purpose.

by speedegg :: Tue, 02/15/2011 - 5:54pm

AJ Smith is playing hardball again. I would've thought they change their approach, but I guess they want to miss the playoffs. Next season will be fun...

As for Josh's comments, the situation is different that what you'd expect. V-Jax was suppose to be a free agent, but with the CBA not renewed, it meant he needed to accrue another year before becoming a free agent. AJ Smith wanted an elite WR for peanuts, told him one thing, did something else, let his agent find a trading partner, but then blocked the trade.

If your boss said you weren't important, lowballs your salary, gives other employees a raise, and prevents you from interviewing for another job would you feel the love?

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 02/16/2011 - 9:23pm

Right. They missed the playoffs because AJ Smith played hardball. Not because, for example, they had a freakish special teams meltdown.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 02/16/2011 - 10:51am

I would have to think this sort of thing makes the Chargers a lot less appealing for free agents. Would you want to sign with them?

by Myran (not verified) :: Wed, 02/16/2011 - 3:34pm

They should change the franchise tag to three years guaranteed at the average of the top 5. This would essentially give the player the guaranteed money that they want while also forcing the team to accept the fact that the player really means a lot to the franchise. Then if they need additional years, they can tack on a little extra guaranteed cash and extra years as needed.

Both sides should be fairly happy with that.

by JonC :: Wed, 02/16/2011 - 6:48pm

Jackson's people have said multiple times that he will play for the franchise tag value, assuming the value of the tag stays about the same as it is now, $10-12 million.

by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 02/18/2011 - 1:07pm

Shaky political discussion deleted. Rule #1.

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 02/18/2011 - 7:58pm

This may piss Jackson off given his history with management, but in reality if the franchise money stays the same as what it is now, he's going to make out pretty darn well. I'm not sure he could beat that salary on the open market.

by An Onimous (not verified) :: Sat, 02/19/2011 - 7:51am

Pretty much nobody can ever beat Franchise Tag salary on the open market. The reason players don't like being tagged isn't because the 1-year compensation isn't more than fair, it's because they want more than 1 year worth of compensation.

Imagine two situations. In situation A, you basically play on a year-to-year contract for $10 million a year. In situation B, you sign a 6-year, $48 million contract with $24 million guaranteed. Situation A offers the higher salary, but situation B offers a heck of a lot more money up front, and a lot more insurance against injury or poor play.

Basically, when players complain about getting tagged, they aren't complaining about the salary, they're complaining about the lack of a huge signing bonus.