Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com is reporting that the Jacksonville Jaguars are not expecting to have wide receiver Justin Blackmon for the 2014 season. After missing the first four games of the season in 2013, Blackmon made a splash, averaging over seven catches and 100 yards in his first four games he played in, highlighted by a monster, 14-catch, 190 yard game at Denver in Week 7. Following the team's Week 8 game against San Francisco, Blackmon was suspended indefinitely after violating the league's substance abuse policy for a third time.
When asked at a luncheon today if the team expected Blackmon to be a part of the team's plan in 2014, General Manager David Caldwell didn't sound optimistic. "It would be something that would be relatively surprising," Caldwell said. "Haven't gotten a whole lot of updates from the league where he's at or from Justin, to be honest with you."
Head coach Gus Bradley hasn't had much contact with the wide receiver either, saying that he hasn't heard from Blackmon in a few weeks. "Without having contact, we just have to protect the team now," Bradley said. "We've got to do what's right for the organization, so we have to continue to move forward and project that. We've got to get some guys in here at that spot, and that's why you've heard Dave talk about wide receiver is a need because of that.
"Now, if everything works out to get him back, that's OK. We always will love to get very talented players in here. But it's hard. But we just have to keep going forward."
Blackmon is eligible for reinstatement this summer, but all signs point to him having to serve a minimum of another eight games in 2014. He finished the season with 29 catches and 415 yards in the four games he played.
Some people never learn... Blackmon has been given every chance to clean up his act and be a star in this league. He's failed to do so thus far. There is zero doubt to his talent or ability. It's his desire to be a professional that is in question.
From the tone of the comments made by Caldwell and Bradley, it sounds like the Jags are on the verge of moving on from Blackmon. The big thing that stands out to me is that, if you have a stud that you WANT, who's going through the off-field issues that Blackmon has, wouldn't one of these two men (the GM or the Head Coach) be keeping tabs on said player?
Blackmon's status for 2014 will be known well ahead of most fantasy drafts that take place in August. If he indeed is to serve another eight games, his draft stock will obviously plummet. The thing to monitor is that if the Jags go get a wide receiver in the draft next week, it could spell the end of Blackmon's time in Jacksonville. Cecil Shorts has already proven he can be productive and expectations are high for youngster Ace Sanders. Blackmon may simply not be worth the headache for the Jags anymore.
WIthout Blackmon, Shorts is still a low-end WR2 and Sanders should get more involved in the passing game in 2014. Shorts had 66 catches for 777 yards in 13 games in 2013. Sanders played in 15 games and had 51 for 484.