Justin Blackmon Holdout: Why the Jacksonville Jaguars Need to End Dispute Now
Justin Blackmon just pleaded guilty to DUI. but the Jacksonville Jaguars need to do everything within their power to end his potential holdout before it begins—even if that means caving to Blackmon's demands.
As a result of his guilty plea, Blackmon will have to complete 50 hours of community service, according to CBSSports.com. In most cases, the team would have the leverage and ability to not pay Blackmon what he deserves, instead littering the contract with little guaranteed money and primarily incentive based goals.
This is not most cases.
The Jaguars knew exactly what they were getting themselves into when they selected Blackmon with the No.5 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. He had a bit of a checkered past already, so this recent issue with the law should not surprise the team.
Jacksonville decided to take the risk, and now they have to sleep in the bed they made. The franchise simply cannot afford to let Blackmon miss any time in training camp.
Blackmon is going to need a maximum amount of reps to develop chemistry and timing with second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Jacksonville took Blackmon despite the red flags because they needed a receiver on the field that could make the easily-rattled Gabbert comfortable in the pocket.
If Blackmon misses time in training camp because the Jaguars are being stingy with money over something that they knew was a distinct possibility, it could ruin the entire strategy.
Not to mention the NFL's leading rusher from 2011 and the heart of the franchise, running back Maurice Jones-Drew, is holding out as well because he is being underpaid in comparison to his production and importance to the team overall.
If the Jaguars are serious about boosting attendance and proving to the fan base that the organization is serious about contending and taking care of their own, a deal for Blackmon needs to get done right away.
In a time when a rookie wage scale was introduced with the idea being to prevent rookie holdouts, the Jaguars appear to be on that course anyway. That is a bad sign not only for the present, but for the future as well.
None of this is to say that Blackmon's crime should go unnoticed. The stupidity behind getting arrested for DUI before signing a rookie contract in the NFL is simply mind-boggling. Giving Blackmon what he wants would almost seem to be rewarding bad behavior, but that is what the Jaguars get at this point.
Could the Jaguars get burned by giving in to Blackmon's demands? Absolutely. But let's not act like this is pre-rookie wage scale when contracts were franchise-crippling. Give Blackmon the money he wants to prevent a holdout or risk angering the fan base and potentially limping into the 2012 season.
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