Despite being the most talented player on the roster of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Justin Blackmon isn’t make life easy for him or his team by receiving a four-game suspension from the NFL for violating the league’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse, giving the Jags an excuse to release him without owing him anything.
Blackmon’s future guarantees will void based on a standard provision in all guaranteed rookie contracts that wipes out the guarantees in the event of a suspension, despite top 5 players otherwise getting fully guaranteed contracts for four seasons.
This isn’t Blackmon’s first off-field problem that has hurt the team. He was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol by a Payne County sheriff’s deputy in Stillwater, Oklahoma on June 3, 2012, and was released later that day. He was previously arrested for DUI in Texas in 2010, and was suspended for one game by the Oklahoma State coaching staff.
But beyond his personal issues, Blackmon has talent. The Jags didn’t move up to fifth in order to get him if they didn’t believe he can be a cornerstone in their attempt to rebuild from the ashes of the last couple of seasons. Blackmon had an impressive rookie season despite no help from the quarterback or other talented wide receivers, catching 64 passes for 865 yards and 5 touchdowns, finishing second on the team in receiving yards, ready to take over as the number one wideout beginning in 2013.
And despite the fear of having a troublemaker who isn’t worth the hassle on their hands, the Jags are likely to keep him on board. After putting a lot of faith in him last season to become a vital part of their offense, the Jags didn’t address wide receiver depth with their first three picks in the 2013 draft. Giving up on Blackmon might save them some money and headaches, but also means taking a step back professionally.