We know that when Justin Blackmon finally arrives at training camp after missing nine days so far, he won’t be Justin Blackmon. He’ll be some lesser, far more average figure at first. We also know that while Blaine Gabbert struggles quite enough on his own to complete passes to anyone, Blackmon was drafted at such a high position because his role is to hopefully play A.J Green to Gabbert’s Andy Dalton, giving the Jaguars a dynamic and young wide receiver-quarterback duo for many years.
We just don’t know when Blackmon will show up. Still.
There’s progress in his contract talks, and talk of talking. That’s encouraging and positive, but the Jaguars have reached the point now where it’s almost certain Blackmon won’t play in their preseason opener, and very soon they’ll be flirting with a two-week absence for the lone remaining unsigned first-round pick.
It is, quite simply, inexcusable. The hurdle that’s stalling the talks is easy to understand, or at least we assume it is. Blackmon is supremely talented on the field, but supremely stupid off of it, and Jags GM Gene Smith is surely trying to work in some language into the contract which insures the team against future moronic behavior. Blackmon’s expected to get a four-year deal worth about $19.5 million, and if there’s a need to cut him at any point in that deal, Jacksonville wants to include offset language to avoid having to keep paying a former player if he leaves and signs with another team.
That’s all swell, Gene. But weren’t you aware of this kid’s character concerns prior to drafting him? Sure, he then had a DUI after the draft, but that just means he’s living up to his scouting report. The Jaguars are getting what they paid for, or rather what they might pay for if they ever agree to compromise, a possibility that isn’t looking rosy.
From Vito Stellino:
Jaguars general manager Gene Smith said he is having “healthy communication’’ with Todd France, Blackmon’s agent.
Smith said that was a positive but it remains to be seen if the communication will lead to a breakthrough in the talks that will get Blackmon, a receiver and the last unsigned first-round pick in the NFL, into camp any time soon.
France confirmed the two sides are having conversations, but declined further comment.
Despite his character concerns, the offset issue will be difficult because the two picks sandwiching Blackmon (Morris Claiborne and Matt Kalil) didn’t have offset language in their contracts.
So Blackmon will sit, and he’ll wait, and so will Maurice Jones-Drew. Meanwhile, the Jaguars will continue to suck.
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