The newspaper reported there remains almost no way the Chargers will sign Jackson to a long-term deal, but they would consider putting a franchise tag (likely worth approximately $10 million for one season) on him if such a designation remains part of the NFL's next collective bargaining agreement. The current labor deal expires March 4.
The Chargers view Jackson, who has sought as much as $50 million for five seasons, as a risk because of his arrests for DUIs and driving with a suspended license. There is the potential for a long suspension from the NFL if he gets in more trouble off the field.
But Jackson illustrated his on-field value in last Thursday night's victory over the San Francisco 49ers, catching three touchdown passes.
Jackson signed his contract tender for this season on Oct. 29 after Week 7. He missed the next three games because of a team-imposed suspension and being placed on the roster exempt list. By being eligible to play for the final six games (he missed one because of injury), he will accrue his sixth season toward free agency.
Jackson and his agent said at one point that the receiver wouldn't play at all this season because of his unhappiness at not receiving a long-term deal. Counting the six games and the Chargers' Week 10 bye, Jackson will earn $240,058 rather than the $3.268 million that he would have made had he signed his restricted free-agent tender before the season.