Jacksonville Jaguars first-round draft pick Justin Blackmon remains the lone unsigned pick (not a holdout) from the 2012 NFL Draft, but the two sides have recently engaged in "healthy communication," Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union reports.
Blackmon's four-year rookie contract is expected to be fully guaranteed and worth around $19.5 million. According to Stellino, one of the hang-ups is that the Jaguars are seeking language protecting themselves against another off-field incident by Blackmon, who was arrested and pleaded guilty to an aggravated DUI charge in Stillwater, Oklahoma following the team's completion of the OTAs.
The Jaguars are within their rights to seek such language, but this is an offense that ranked 32nd in several categories, including total and passing offense, and is going through training camp without their best weapon, running back Maurice Jones-Drew. General manager Gene Smith moved up in the first round to select Blackmon with the No. 5 overall to be the No. 1 wide receiver the team lacked. However, the likelihood of him doing so this season decreases with each missed practice, walk-through and meeting during this contract stalemate.
At some point, Smith will have to ask himself if securing offset language on what amounts to around $5 million in base salary in the final two seasons of this contract is worth not having Blackmon on the field for the first few weeks of his first NFL training camp. After all, even if Smith obtains the offset language and Blackmon does turn out to be a colossal bust, Smith may not be the GM who benefits from the financial relief he currently seeks.