Vincent Jackson to Report to the Chargers
In a related development, NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen recently sought clarification on the reporting dates because the NFL constitution has a by-law that states clubs have an option not reinstate a player who reports after Tuesday’s trade deadline. That created a potential conflict with the labor agreement, which states that a player who has not signed a contract by the Tuesday following the 10th week of the regular season would be ineligible to play that year.
“The issue arose, we had a discussion and the league quickly agreed that the CBA supersedes the constitution on any potential conflicting provision,” Kessler said.
“Yes, that’s correct,” confirmed NFL spokesman Greg Aiello via email. “In the CBA, a restricted free agent has the right to accept his tender and report to the club any time up until the Tuesday after week 10 (Nov. 16, 4 p.m. ET) of the regular season, whether or not the club requests or agrees to his reporting.”
The union wanted pre-emptive clarification in case one of the clubs attempted to use the constitutional by-law to prohibit Jackson and Mankins from reporting because it did not want to have file a grievance to a Special Master, creating further delay.
Kessler would not confirm that the union has recommended Jackson and Mankins report in time to get their sixth accrued season in the event there is no labor agreement. That would allow teams to impose the restricted contract tenders on them in 2011, per the current CBA.
The same sources strongly reaffirmed Jackson and Mankins are expected to follow the NFLPA’s recommendation and report to the Chargers and Patriots by their respective deadlines to ensure unrestricted free agency in 2011.
Both players can be traded by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline if they are willing to sign their contract tenders. Jackson would have to sit out the first three games with his new team under his roster-exempt status before being eligible to play.
Jackson was able to serve a three-game suspension to begin the season for violation of the personal conduct policy after being convicted of a second DUI even though he is not under contract.
The Chargers receiver, a Pro Bowl selection in 2009, is not facing an automatic year suspension under the substance abuse policy — the next alcohol or drug violation under a specific disciplinary scale, would cost Jackson four game checks. Jackson is being tested randomly several times per month under the policy.
By Jackson and Mankins earning a sixth accrued season, the only way the Chargers and Patriots can restrict their free agency in 2011 would be to place a franchise tag on them next February at a considerably higher guaranteed value than the restricted contract tenders. A transition tag also would be available for the Chargers and Patriots instead of the franchise tag, but the teams would not receive any draft pick compensation and would only have right of first refusal on any contract the players signed with another team.
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The news just keeps on coming for Chargers fans. I will say this, IF Vincent Jackson does return, it will strengthen the receiver core, and allow another player to focus on special teams. I am not holding my breath that we will see Jackson in a Chargers uniform. Things will get interesting as the trade deadline approaches next week.