Chargers GM the key to a Jackson trade

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the NFL and NFL Players Association are discussing a settlement that would reduce San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson's suspension from six to five or four games if the holdout Pro Bowler is traded.

Schefter reports that a settlement is on schedule to be reached Thursday afternoon. The settlement talks postponed a hearing that was to be heard Thursday. That should bring clarity to teams who want to trade for Jackson. The Minnesota Vikings are being talked about as the hottest pursuer.

Is this significant movement? Well, you have to ask A.J. Smith. The San Diego general manager holds all the cards.

That’s why I was never very excited about the entire hearing process. It really doesn’t matter if Smith doesn’t want to trade the holdout. Smith has not made this situation easy from the start, that’s why the entire hearing process came about. Smith put Jackson (along with holdout left tackle Marcus McNeill) on the Roster Exempt List in August. That meant he’d have to serve a three-game suspension after his current three-game NFL suspension for violating the personal conduct policy.

Had a deal been struck by the Sept. 4 53-man roster deadline, the latter three-game suspension would have been avoided. No deal was struck by then, so why do we think this movement will expedite a deal?

The only person to rush a deal is Smith. It’s all up to him. He might trade Jackson tomorrow. Or he might not.

Jonathan Feinsod, one of Jackson’s agents, said the Chargers had a one-year contract struck with an unnamed team, but the trade was scuttled because the team and the Chargers couldn’t agree on compensation. The Chargers were said to be asking for a lot in return for Jackson, and the team couldn’t justify giving up a lot since it was only planning to sign Jackson for one season.

Unless a team decides to give Jackson a long-term deal or unless Smith relents, there is going to be little movement on a trade. Smith won’t just trade Jackson to trade him. So, Thursday’s development is nice. But Smith still has all the power.