San Diego wide receiver Vincent Jackson will end his protracted holdout next week and return to the Chargers flock. It’s too late to help the team’s season or his contract value for 2011, but it does will allow him to secure unrestricted free agent status for the next offseason.
Because of the change to the league’s salary cap rules before 2010, players who normally needed five years of experience to become an unrestricted free agent suddenly needed six. Jackson was one of those caught in that bind and refused to sign his contract tender from the Chargers.
When San Diego, leery of an upcoming lockout, didn’t offer him a long-term deal or trade him, Jackson sat out. But the union informed him recently that if he didn’t play at all this year, he still wouldn’t have the necessary sixth year to become unrestricted. Jackson and his agent disputed that interpretation, but only by giving in and agreeing to return next week could he guarantee his status.
But Jackson still has a three-game suspension to serve for a drunk driving arrest in January, leaving him eligible for only the final six games of 2010, for which he’ll earn a total of $240,058.
Had he signed the contract tender in the offseason, he would have made $3,268,000 for the full year.
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