In an interview with the San Diego Union Tribune, San Diego general manager A.J. Smith made it clear that veteran left tackle Tra Thomas was signed Wednesday because of the possible holdout by standout left tackle Marcus McNeill.
Smith also told the newspaper the team could look for a veteran receiver because of the possible holdout by Pro Bowl receiver Vincent Jackson. Both McNeill and Jackson are expected to hold out if they don’t get long-term deals. The team is not currently prepared to give either player a new contract.
Smith made it clear he is ready to call Jackson and McNeill’s bluff.
“It’s my understanding we have lost the services of both Marcus and Vincent for a considerable length of time,” Smith told the newspaper. “I certainly am taking them at their word. Therefore, I felt it was in our best interest to act quickly and secure a veteran left tackle. Tra is a talented player that brings us a wealth of starting experience. He will be added to the mix, and we will go from there.
“It is disappointing, for sure. Marcus, Vincent and their agents have made their business decision. It is their right to do so. We will adjust, move on and get ready for the upcoming season.”
This is vintage Smith. He never shows any sign of weakness and he always plays it cool. That’s why a potential holdout by either player could be very dangerous. Smith will not surrender.
Meanwhile, I’m sure San Diego fans are going to wonder if that veteran receiver the team could add could end up being Terrell Owens. I think the Jackson situation would have to completely crumble before Smith considered that option. It’s just not very likely.
Meanwhile, K.C. Joyner takes a look at what it would mean for San Diego to play without Jackson in an Insider piece on ESPN.com.