According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, wide receiver Vincent Jackson and left tackle Marcus McNeill want long-term deals and don’t want to risk injury while waiting for them.
General Manager A.J. Smith and the Chargers are not doing long-term deals while the NFL’s labor situation is uncertain.
And so, the sit-outs have reached a new level of direness.
Jackson and McNeill, both restricted free agents, are not going to sign their tenders Monday. So say several sources familiar with the thinking of the players and their agents.
The Chargers, as of Tuesday, will lower Jackson’s and McNeill’s 2010 salaries to 110 percent of their ’09 pay. That would mean a forfeiture of about $2.5 million each.
Once it is cut, it’s not coming back up. And once it is cut, the players aren’t showing up.
Since Jackson and McNeill were not going to play for $3.268 million and $3.168 million, respectively, they certainly are not going to play a full season for a fraction of that.
It is increasingly likely that the two players will not sign with the Chargers until after the season’s 10th game. They would come in then because they need six games to earn an accrued season.
Still, it remains possible one or both could sit out the entire season.
Many wonder how two players who have made less than $3 million in their careers can afford to not play.
But not being paid by the Chargers is not a concern to the two players, sources say. Jackson and McNeill are committed to seeing this protest through, and they have the means to weather not playing in 2010 and potentially 2011 should the owners lock out players.
The absence of Jackson and McNeill would damage San Diego's chances of winning a fifth straight AFC West crown, and it would also cause chaos in the fantasy football world. Without his best receiver and his top bodyguard, Philip Rivers wouldn't be as coveted of a fantasy quarterback, and rookie running back Ryan Mathews might find the running lanes to be more crowded. This is a situation to monitor.