At some point two things are going to happen within the Jacksonville Jaguars organization: Justin Blackmon will be reinstated by the NFL for his violation of the substance abuse policy and the team will have to make a decision whether to keep, release or trade the soon-to-be third year pro.
Now that the team is preparing for free agency, the NFL Draft and the start of rookie mini-camp, OTAs and then training camp, making a decision on a player with worlds of talent but cannot seem to keep himself clean may not be as important to this organization as one thinks, especially if team general manager David Caldwell has referred to the Oklahoma State star as a “luxury” to have.
Note to Caldwell and the Jaguars organization – the winning has been scarce and because of that, there are no “luxuries” to be had.
According to NFL.com, “Caldwell said the Jaguars haven't been in regular contact with Blackmon, citing certain rules that we have to abide by" from the NFL Players Association and the league office."
From a bookkeeping angle, Jacksonville can call Blackmon a "luxury" because of the player's unique contract stipulating that the Jaguars can release him without owing another cent. Still, this isn't a roster that can wave farewell to a bona-fide talent.”
When you are a fleet receiver with nice hands and good sped that reminds some of a young Michael Irvin, it may be hard to give up on that kind of talent. But there is plenty of risk with this reward – which is only magnified by the fact the Jaguars are a losing franchise right now and the fact when he is on the field, he has proven to be as electric as any receiver in this league.
What is a team to do? The franchise appears to be ending its marriage with Maurice Jones-Drew, as the running back and face of this franchise looks to free agency. There is no other face unless the team drafts Jadeveon Clowney to anchor the defense or takes a flier on Johnny Manziel.
In my opinion, if the team does not want this “luxury” then they must trade him. But that isn’t as easy as it seems because the franchises must be willing to accept his work ethic, which is good when he is in practice and on the field, and his off field issues should they arise again.
Here are five teams where he would fit.
New England Patriots
I have seen other publications and writers here at Football Nation that have mentioned this as a possible trade. Blackmon provides an instant proven pass catcher and deep threat – the one that Tom Brady has been lacking. This is a franchise that released Randy Moss after bringing him in. It is the best option for a first round draft pick.
New York Giants
If Hakeem Nicks walks, this is another perfect solution. Tom Coughlin, the former Jaguars head coach, knows a thing or two about head cases and issues in Jacksonville. There are enough solid guys in the lockerroom who could keep this kid’s head on straight and it would may not cost the team the 12th pick in the draft.
Someone has to replace Eric Decker, right? With other Jaguars already on this team, this might be an option. He immediately becomes the best receiver this team has and proves to be a post guy or middle option. It is another step in this team re-tooling for a run at the Super Bowl and would be better than the 31st pick in the Draft.
You may lose Jacoby Jones and just re-signed Dennis Pitta to a contract. The Ravens have Torrey Smith on the outside, but need a complimentary receiver. Blackmon comes over to “help” and becomes the man in the Ravens passing offense.
If Emmanuel Sanders is on his way out (and could be a player the Jaguars look at) then why not trade him to the Steelers? The team is getting older, but Ben Roethlisberger still has a cannon of an arm. And he, Antonio Brown and Blackmon could light it up in the AFC North. The coaching of Mike Tomlin would not allow for Blackmon’s nonsense.