Both sides in the CBA negotiations are sending suggestions back and forth — via the media of course — about who should and shouldn’t have a hand in terms of a new deal. One voice that definitely won’t be in the room is San Diego Chargers GM A.J. Smith and he says it’s not by choice.
“I volunteered my services,” Smith said. “But my request was denied.”
Smith insisted he was serious about his appeal to assist in the process.
Since he would not identify who he talked to or what specifically was discussed, it can only be surmised that Smith’s offer was declined in part because he is well known for a negotiating style that can often be boiled down to something like: “Here’s our offer. Get back to us when you decide to take it.”
Said Smith: “Let’s just say it was someone high up in authority, and it was denied before I got to finish my sentence.”
Why does it not surprise me that Smith felt like he belonged in the middle of negotiations? I only wonder which side he would end up annoying more since everyone not named “A.J. Smith” would be wrong in the mind of the Chargers GM.
On second though, maybe the owners should have Smith sit down by himself with the NFLPA’s executive committee for a few hours. Then replace him with the NFL’s negotiating team and see how quick a deal gets done. After all, Smith may be the only person in the league that can make Jerry Jones seem like a welcoming figure.