Believe it or not, but Justin Blackmon is still under contract for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it doesn’t mean the suspended wide receiver is ever going to play for them, or anyone else in the NFL, again.
The 5th overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft and a star for Oklahoma State, Blackmon is supposedly entering his final year of the rookie deal. He hasn’t played since 2013, and was denied reinstatement by the league three months ago, which means he won’t be playing in 2015 for anyone, and after such a long time out of the league, it’s hard to see him ever playing again. His general manager, Dave Caldwell, doesn’t believe so at least.
I guess I harbor hope, but realistically, when you’re away from the game for two-and-a-half years, what you were once is not what you will probably be — your skills do erode, especially when you’re not in shape and not in top football shape.
Blackmon violated the league’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse twice, arrested for DUI before his career even began and arrested following a traffic stop on July 23, 2014 in Edmond, Oklahoma for possession of marijuana. He did voluntarily check in to a 90-day program last year, but it hasn’t helped him get back into the league.
So why is he still under contract? While the Jaguars say it’s all about paperwork and he doesn’t count against the cap anyway, it’s probably about his signing bonus, which is as much as $4 million, which the Jaguars won’t be able to recoup if he’s released from the team. The team has moved on, drafting Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee in 2014 and another receiver, Rashad Greene, in the 2015 draft with their fifth round pick.
Blackmon played in 20 NFL games, making 93 receptions for 1280 yards and six touchdowns. He was a Fiesta Bowl MVP in 2012, a two-time All-American and one time Big-12 offensive player of the year.