The day has come and gone, and star wide receiver Vincent Jackson and pro bowl offensive lineman Marcus McNeill has not been traded. The Chargers have seemingly turned down every potential deal that has landed on general manager A.J. Smith's desk. The agents are angry. Vincent Jackson's agent, Jonathan Feinsod, let out a quote that had me cracking up.
Said Feinsod of Chargers GM A.J. Smith: “Archie Manning had it right. They call (A.J. Smith) the Lord of No Rings for a reason.”
Excuse me one moment...
(wipes tears, cleans glasses, gets composure back)
Ok...if you're not familiar, the Archie Manning reference is regarding Archie forcing the Chargers to trade his son Eli instead of letting him play in San Diego. Plus, the “Lord of No Rings” bit? That's funny as all get out.
However, let me be perfectly clear on how I feel about this situation, if A.J. Smith's goal is to not pay Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill, for whatever reason that may be, cool. I'm totally fine with it. Here's a couple of reasons why...
Look, when we all heard that Vincent Jackson was going to hold out and asked for a 5-year, $50 million dollar contract, I don't know about you but I thought the man was insane. Of course, he's not insane, he's just doing what anyone who knows anything about business does...he's negotiating. Look, no one goes to the negotiating table and asks for what they're truly worth, hell no. You go to the negotiating table to get as much as you can get from the other side. This is how the game works. This is exactly what Darrelle Revis did, and although he didn't get the exact number he wanted, he still got plenty. (Plus, the man is now paid while having his soul stolen from him by Randy Moss, so in my opinion...he won.)
So the fact that A.J. Smith drew a line in the sand and said, no we're not going to re-do your deal, is just fine by me. I probably wouldn't have done it, but if that's what he wants to do, then fine.
Why? Look at what the man has done since he's been in tenure with the Chargers. The man brought in Philip Rivers to replace a now Super Bowl Champion in Drew Brees, and Rivers has performed so admirably under fire that there is a writer on this site and a woman I truly respect that feel that #17 > #9, but I digress.
The man has found talent consistently at tailback, all while the greatest player in the history of the Chargers gave them everything they got. We sometimes forget that Michael Turner was the #2 back for the Chargers way back when. We see the productivity that Darren "The Oklahoma Killer" Sproles has on this offense, and A.J. Smith is betting his bottom dollar than Ryan Mathews can perform admirably while replacing the great LaDainian Tomlinson. Hell, the man found Antonio Gates, and Gates hadn't played football since high school. Now Gates is considered one of the top tight ends of all-time. So to question the man's ability to find talent would be absurd.
However, I think what we have here is a case of one letting their emotions get in the way of making a business transaction. Sometimes you have to know when to fold 'em and know when to hold 'em. By not trading Vincent Jackson or Marcus McNeill, the Chargers will not receive anything for them once the players decide to walk away from the team other than a compensatory picks by the NFL, which are based on the base salary of what their new team will pay them. Well, Jackson and McNeill are good, they'll get good base money, right? Not so fast my friend.
Get this...Jackson and McNeill's agents are both openly saying that they will try and negotiate their new deals with new teams with LOW base salary and higher signing bonuses so that the Chargers cannot get a high draft pick in return. Now excuse me again while I laugh...
(wipes tears, cleans glasses, gets composure back)
A.J. Smith, the reason why "The Lord of No Rings" is hilarious is because you ARE really good at what you do. Pound for pound the San Diego Chargers have the most talent on their roster more than any team in the league, yet you guys have never even sniffed the Super Bowl, much less won one since you've been there. The bigger question that I'd ask A.J. Smith is this, do you want to keep your team just "really good" or do you want your team to be "great"? Is the ownership and their wallets preventing you from signing your top players to long-term deals? If that's the case then that's one thing, its another thing to just look at your players and say "I can replace you" and keep it moving. You know why?
Because there are 53 other players in that locker room that see everything that you're doing, and if those players in that locker room don't believe that the organization believes in them, then you're going to have more players trying to get out as fast as they can.
Now excuse me while I laugh...
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