Among the 11 first round picks without contracts, the trickiest negotiations could be between the Jacksonville Jaguars and No. 5 overall pick Justin Blackmon.
The Jaguars moved up two slots to select Blackmon, an immensely talented player with the ability to step in and be a No. 1 receiver on a Jacksonville offense that ranked 32nd in total offense and passing offense last season.
Complicating contract talks is Blackmon's DUI arrest in Stillwater, Okla., in early June. This was Blackmon's second DUI which, as Around the League editor Gregg Rosenthal accurately pointed out on Thursday, has likely prompted the Jaguars to seek protections in what's expected to be a four-year contract worth more than $18.5 million in fully guaranteed money.
Jaguars rookies and veterans report to training camp on July 26 with the first practice scheduled for the following day. That gives the Jaguars and Blackmon's agent, Todd France, less than a week to get Blackmon signed before camp. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that the two sides are expected to ramp up negotiations in the next few days.
While much of the talk about the holdup in the Jaguars/Blackmon talks has centered on the team looking to defer significant portions of his slotted $11,903,272 signing bonus, that might not be too big of an issue. According to a source familiar with how the Jaguars structure payments to players chosen in the first two rounds of the draft, at least 50 percent of Blackmon's signing bonus will be deferred to future years. Exactly 50 percent of 2011 first-round pick Blaine Gabbert's signing bonus was deferred, as was exactly 50 percent of 2012 second-round pick Andre Branch's bonus. The Jaguars seeking similar deferments is about policy, not punishment.
Could the Jaguars be looking to defer more of that money? Of course they could, but the more likely sticking point in talks will be the Jaguars seeking offset language on at least the $5 million or so in fully guaranteed base salaries in the final two years of the contract, and France looking to avoid it.