On Saturday night, the Miami Dolphins signed first-round quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a four-year, $12.688 million contract. On Sunday, the Oakland Raiders officially announced the signing of fifth-round wide receiver Juron Criner to a four-year rookie contract.
The signings of Tannehill and Criner leave two wide receivers from the AFC South as the remaining unsigned players from the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have conducted three days of practices without No. 5 overall pick Justin Blackmon, who has still has not signed what is expected to be a four-year contract worth around $18.5 million in fully guaranteed money. Blackmon is being counted on to be a No. 1 receiver for an offense that ranked 32 overall, and 32nd when passing, in 2011. However, a DUI arrest in Oklahoma following the conclusion of the OTAs likely has the Jaguars looking for significant protections, i.e. "offset language", in the contract.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kendall Wright, the No. 20 overall pick, is the other unsigned pick and Sunday will be the second day of practices the rookie from Baylor will have missed. The Titans can thank the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for this one as Adrian Clayborn, last year's No. 20 overall pick, signed a fully guaranteed contract worth $8,210,166. The players chosen in the three previous spots in both 2011 and 2012 have had about 91 percent of their contracts fully guaranteed, which the Titans argue should have been the case with Clayborn and should be the case with Wright.
These negotiations are always a two-way street, so neither player should be considered a "holdout". Wright's agent is merely trying to finagle as much guaranteed money as possible from the only contract Wright will ever be assured of. That's his job.
As for the Jaguars, they have every right to protect their interests, but at some point they need to get Blackmon into the fold. The club moved up in the draft to select Blackmon, who didn't exactly have a spotless off-field track record to begin with. So if the Jaguars are forced to cut Blackmon down the line, he clears waivers and is able to double-dip, general manager Gene Smith may not be around in 2015 to tell ownership how he saved the team nearly $3 million in base salary by securing "offset" language in the contract. With Maurice Jones-Drew a legitimate camp holdout, the Jaguars can't afford to not have their two best offensive weapons on the field during Mike Mularkey's first camp.