The NFL rookie wage scale was supposed to make it easier for teams to get their draft picks signed and in camp on time.
Unfortunately for the Jacksonville Jaguars there are extenuating circumstances that are making their contract negotiations with their first-round draft pick Justin Blackmon trickier than other rookies who have already signed.
Blackmon was arrested for a DUI earlier this offseason after the Jaguars made him the first wide receiver selected in this year’s draft. It was Blackmon’s second arrest for drunk driving and it has raised some concerns inside the Jaguars organization about his maturity level.
Sure the Jaguars are confident in Blackmon’s abilities on the field, but he may be subject to suspensions in the future for additional run-ins with the law. So, the Jaguars are looking to put some safeguards in Blackmon’s rookie contract that would protect them if he cannot avoid off the field issues.
The main form of protection that the Jaguars could use in the contract is offset language that protects the team in the case that they decide to release a player before the end of his contract. It has been a sticking point for most of the contracts being negotiated for high first-round picks this offseason, but the Jaguars are almost certainly trying to get the offset language into Blackmon’s contract. It would allow them to recoup some of the guaranteed money they gave Blackmon in the case that he signs with another team if he is released by the Jaguars.
With the Jaguars set to open their training camp this week, it is unlikely that Blackmon’s deal is done in time for him to be practicing with the team at the start of camp. However, it is almost certain that his deal will get done and he will have a major impact on the field for the Jaguars this season.