Pro Bowl WR Likely Leaving AFC West

The Chargers offseason has been dominated with unhappy restricted free agents.  It seems as if they are ready to part ways with one of them, Pro Bowl WR Vincent Jackson, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

The Seahawks maintain interest, as do “several other teams,” according to one source.  Among those teams, sources said, are the Washington Redskins.  It is not known whether the Redskins have spoken to the Chargers regarding Jackson.

Two league sources said it was the Chargers who declined the Seahawks’ overtures.  However, the price to secure Jackson could be a deterrent as well.  Any team trading for Jackson will also have to sign him to a long-term deal.

Jackson and left tackle Marcus McNeill are unhappy with the tenders they received as restricted free agents and are not planning on reporting to the Chargers until late in the season.  Both declined to sign their one-year tenders of more than $3 million before June 15 and had their offers reduced by more than $2.5 million.  Sources close to both players said they are committed to sitting out through the season’s 10th game, after which they would report in order to receive credit for an accrued season.

Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith, who is on vacation, has said repeatedly the team is moving on without Jackson and McNeill.  Smith said on June 15 that the Chargers “lost a couple of great players today, and it hurts.”

Even if the Chargers are unable to find a team willing to meet their asking price for Jackson, the team will be without his services for at least the first ten games of the season.  Anyone that thinks this (or the issues with McNeill) won’t hurt the Chargers as they attempt to repeat as AFC West champions is crazy.

They are clearly the favorites within the division, but the gap could close a lot quicker than anyone in the national media wants to admit.  Smith has been walking a tight rope with his brash actions for a while and it’s a matter of time before it all catches up to the team.

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