Jaguars’ receiver Justin Blackmon confirmed a 4-year deal worth about $18.5 million Monday night and started earning his money Tuesday morning when he took part in his 1st training camp practice.
Blackmon must have 3 days of non-contact work before he’s allowed to put on full pads and have physical contact. Coach Mike Mularkey said after practice Tuesday that Blackmon wouldn’t play in the team’s 1st preseason game on Friday against the Giants even though he’s eligible to do so.
Blackmon was the last of the 32 1st-round picks to sign, missing the 1st 11 days of practice for Jacksonville. He’s behind in terms of football conditioning; with his route-running in a brief game that even Mularkey has said isn’t very easy to pick up quickly.
“Obviously I am behind and let’s see. I’m just going to be prepared to catch up,” Blackmon said following Tuesday’s practice.
Blackmon took part in individual passing drills where there wasn’t any contact, but once the team went to 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills, he could only watch from the sidelines.
Compounding Blackmon’s falling behind on the field are some off-the-field issues. He made a plea of guilty to an aggravated DUI charge on July 24 in connection with an event which happened 2 days after the Jaguars’ mini-camp in June. Due to that situation, there have been questions raised about Blackmon’s dedication and work ethic.
Mularkey had raised concerns with Blackmon’s route-running and his knowledge of the playbook last spring. He claimed he’ll be in a position to tell quickly how hard his rookie receiver is working.
“We will know by how fast his progress happens in this camp,” Mularkey recounted. “I believe ever since the incident, his approach to everything he’s doing on the field and in the meeting was a little different after the incident. That was a good thing.”
Blackmon was a 2-time All-America selection at Oklahoma State and a 2-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver. He set a college record with 19 career 100-yard receiving games, including a college single-season mark of 14 consecutive games with 100-plus receiving yards and a touchdown. NFL lines
But he will not be able to get by on just talent.
“I think he will be able to figure that out on his own. After you go against our corners and corners in the league, you’ll find out real fast that’s not how it works,” Mularkey related.
“He’ll have to study, work at it, and understand the guy across from him and what that guy eats for breakfast, everything to make it simpler. Know the answer before the query. That’s what he’s got to discover how to do.”
Blackmon’s deal is structured so that about half ($9.2 million) of his $18.5 million agreement will be paid out by the start of training camp next year. He received $7.1 million when he signed his agreement and a $390,000 base income for this season. Additionally, he’ll receive 2 registry bonuses next year, $700,000 in March and $1 million in July. Blackmon will also receive line-up bonuses the last 2 years of his contract — $1.7 million in 2014 and $1.3 million in 2015.
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