Wide receiver Vincent Jackson and offensive tackle Marcus McNeill are sitting out training camp. The pair are restricted free agents, but unhappy with the offers currently on the table from the team. Since they have not signed those deals, they are under no obligation to attend camp.
Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune posted a mailbag Thursday in which he addressed the situation with both players. To put it bluntly, neither looks terribly promising, but Jackson's is especially bleak.
Acee writes that Jackson is not in the team's long-term plans, a point that probably won't sit too terribly well with Jackson's people if it's true.
Now, things could break at some point, and the Chargers could sign Marcus to a long-term deal, but Vincent Jackson is not a part of the plan. I don't see them using the franchise on Jackson either. Not now. This has gotten ugly ... I do believe still that Marcus will at some point be in a Chargers uniform again ...There doesn't seem to be much chance that either player would show up in Week 10 for roughly $200,000, but they don't have much choice. If they don't, they will dance this dance again next spring and summer, and if a lockout actually happens, they'd really be in trouble.
Players don't have a lot of leverage right now, given the looming lockout and the potential for teams to have tighter purse strings whenever a new collective bargaining agreement actually is ratified. Not only that, but the history of players sitting out big chunks of time in contract disputes isn't especially promising.
Jackson is suspended for the first three games of the regular season, so there is less urgency to get something done with him. McNeill is a good player who the Chargers probably shouldn't just let walk for nothing in return.
But neither player is indispensable. They probably understand that, even if they refuse to admit it.