Justin Blackmon

Extra Points: Blackmon, Chargers, Cowboys

Justin Blackmon has pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor DUI stemming from a December arrest in Oklahoma, as TMZ writes. This incident marks Blackmon’s second DUI in three years. The former Jaguars wide receiver – who technically remains on the team’s roster, on the reserve-suspended list – was banned indefinitely in 2013 for repeated violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Here are a few more pre-draft odds and ends from around the NFL:

  • One source tells Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (on Twitter) that the Chargers will not be taking Notre dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley at No. 3. That pick remains shrouded in mystery though, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that “no one knows” who San Diego will draft.
  • There continues to be a lot of buzz that the Cowboys will move down in the draft from No. 4, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post.
  • According to Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), $7MM of Josh Norman‘s new $15MM signing bonus with Washington will be deferred until May 1st, 2017. That doesn’t impact the cap hits on Norman’s deal — it simply affects his payment schedule.
  • As Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk details, no NFL draft since 1999 has seen five quarterbacks selected in the first round, but if there are teams particularly high on players like Connor Cook and Christian Hackenberg, there’s a chance it could happen tonight.
  • Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report takes an interesting look at how teams really make their draft picks, examining the role of team owners, general managers, coaches, and scouts in the process.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

South Rumors: Payton, Coleman, Blackmon, Colts

Sean Payton decided again to squash any potential move to another team next season, per ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett.

It’s come up every, I’m going to say, two to three years. And I guess … listen, it comes with the territory,” the Saints coach told media. “This is where I call home. I just finished building a home here. I’m close enough to my son back in Dallas where I’m pretty much back there once a week or he’s over here; my daughter is off in college now. So, I see myself coaching this team long past this season.”

Payton made similar comments in October after ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Dolphins, and possibly other teams, would make a play for his services after this season. The 10th-year coach has two years remaining on his contract, so such a move would require compensation.

Drew Brees‘ coach for each of his Saints campaigns, Payton also anticipates the 15th-year quarterback to stay in New Orleans next season, when he’ll be 37 and occupy an untenable $30MM salary cap number.

I understand (the question). It’s the business we’re in. And yet he’s playing at a very high level,” Payton told media. “His mechanics, his arm strength has been outstanding. Two weeks ago in Tampa Bay, he made a throw down the sideline and into the wind in Cover 2 that was unbelievable. So, yes, to answer your question, I do (expect him back).”

Here is some more news emerging from the Southern divisions.

  • Tevin Coleman slipped in the shower at the Falcons‘ facility and entered the concussion protocol as a result, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports. The rookie runner who began the season as Atlanta’s starter has 392 yards on 87 carries this season.
  • The Jaguars recouped an undisclosed amount of Justin Blackmon‘s bonus money despite the embattled receiver going on his second full-season absence from the league, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports. Previous reports indicated the Jaguars were keeping the former top-10 pick on their roster to recoup as much as $4MM of Blackmon’s signing bonus, instead of cutting him and not reacquiring any money. O’Halloran estimates, with Blackmon accruing another DUI this month, the receiver’s suspension has no end in sight and the Jags could conceivably keep him on their roster for years, with it not costing any cap space to do so.
  • After T.Y. Hilton criticized the Colts‘ game plan for a lack of deep shots, offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski indicated the team’s tenuous situation has limited the number of downfield strikes he’s willing to attempt, according to an Associated Press report. This isn’t the first time in-house criticism of play-calling’s surfaced, with since-deposed OC Pep Hamilton receiving his share previously this season.
  • Including Chuck Pagano only being offered a one-year extension and Ryan Grigson‘s failure to upgrade the Colts’ offensive line, the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer examines the main components that led to the Colts’ tumble this season.

AFC Notes: Blackmon, Miller, Browns, Reid

As detailed on the website for the Carter County Sheriff’s Office, Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon was arrested once again this weekend, charged with driving under the influence. It’s the latest off-field incident for Blackmon, who remains suspended indefinitely — even though he’s technically still under contract with the Jaguars, the team has expressed skepticism that he’ll ever play football again, and his latest run-in with the law likely ensures that he won’t be reinstated anytime soon.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Dolphins running back Lamar Miller took a back seat to rookie Jay Ajayi in terms of plays and touches on Sunday, and he isn’t thrilled with his decreased role, as Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post details. With Miller nearing free agency, it’s hard to imagine him re-signing with Miami, as the team seems to be preparing Ajayi for a bigger role in 2016.
  • Browns tight end Gary Barnidge, recently extended by the team, would like to see Cleveland’s coaching staff remain intact for the 2016 season, and other players – including some speaking off the record – are saying the same thing, tweets Jeff Schudel of the Morning-Journal. Whether or not that will have any impact on the Browns’ end-of-season decisions remains to be seen.
  • Browns guard John Greco has sustained an MCL injury that won’t require surgery, but will sideline him for the last two games of the season, head coach Mike Pettine said today (Twitter link via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). The team figures to send Greco to IR to open up a roster spot.
  • Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (all Twitter links) provides some specific details on Jah Reid‘s extension with the Chiefs, reporting that the three-year, $11.371MM deal includes a $3.1MM signing bonus , and cap figures of $1.825MM, $3.625MM, and $3.975MM from 2016 through 2018. Reid’s 2016 salary ($860K) becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the ’16 league year.
  • A pair of players – Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith and Broncos safety David Bruton – played through injuries on Sunday, with Smith separating his right shoulder and dislocating a finger on his left hand, while Bruton, incredibly, played through a broken fibula (Twitter links via John Oehser of Jaguars.com and Lindsay Jones of USA Today). It’s not clear whether either player will return to the field this season — Bruton said he was told he’d have a recovery time of four to six weeks (Twitter link via Jones).

South Notes: K. Lewis, Jennings, J. Jones, Jags

The Saints made the cornerback position a priority this offseason when they added former Patriot Brandon Browner and CFLer Delvin Breaux as free agents, but the team’s top corner won’t be available to start the regular season. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), Keenan Lewis underwent hip surgery yesterday and will miss about four to six weeks of action.

Landing on the IR with the designation to return doesn’t appear likely for Lewis, since that would sideline him for the entire first half, but the Saints will have to make do without him for at least the next month.

Let’s check in on a few other items from out of the league’s two South divisions….

  • Speaking to Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Facebook link), free agent cornerback Tim Jennings said a visit with to Tampa Bay “went well,” but he hasn’t made a decision yet on whether he’ll sign with the Buccaneers. “I do want to take this time to see what other opportunities may materialize, if possible,” Jennings said. “Some teams may have some things come up with more roster cuts. Obviously, I also have a strong connection to Tampa too. So we will see.”
  • Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com has the full year-by-year breakdown for Julio Jones‘ extension with the Falcons, which includes a $12MM signing bonus and $35.5MM in fully guaranteed money.
  • Echoing many of the same points made by Jason La Canfora in a recent CBSSports.com column, Bob Kravitz of WTHR Sports writes that Chuck Pagano‘s future as the Colts head coach is uncertain, given his expiring contract and possible tension with GM Ryan Grigson.
  • The Jaguars would “most likely not” let Justin Blackmon out of his NFL contract to pursue a contract in the CFL, writes Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. Of course, Blackmon would also have to be reinstated by the NFL before he could even consider playing in Canada, and that doesn’t appear imminent either.
  • A housekeeping detail on the Steelers‘ acquisition of Josh Scobee, per Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter links): The Jaguars converted $925K of Scobee’s base salary into a signing bonus before completing the deal, meaning they pay that amount, leaving the Steelers with just a $2.5MM tab for 2015.

Argonauts Land Justin Blackmon’s CFL Rights

The Toronto Argonauts added suspending Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon to their “confidential” negotiation list earlier this month, according to Sportsnet’s Arash Madani. This does not mean Blackmon is ticketed for the Argos, but it does mean that they will hold the talented athlete’s rights should he ever decide to attempt a comeback up north.

Under the CFL’s “Ricky Williams rule,” any player suspended by another professional football league is ineligible to play in the CFL until that discipline is rescinded. Even if the former No. 5 overall pick decided to take his talents to Canada, he’d still have to get his situation squared away with the NFL. There’s also the matter of the Jaguars still holding his rights, though the team does not expect him to play football again.

“I have not heard anything and I guess I harbor a little bit of hope but realistically I think when you’re away from the game for two-and-a-half years what you were once is not what you probably will be,” GM Dave Caldwell said earlier this month. “Your skills do erode and especially if you’re not staying in tip-top shape and you’re not in football shape. … I don’t know [what] to expect, but I would say common sense would probably be if you haven’t played football in two-and-a-half years apparently that’s not a priority for you.”

Blackmon was suspended indefinitely in 2013 for repeated violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and would have to apply for reinstatement and go through a lengthy vetting process before having the opportunity to get the greenlight from the NFL. Blackmon has been arrested on drug charges since being suspended, though he has completed a voluntary rehab program.

Despite their pessimism about Blackmon’s NFL future, the Jaguars will continue to keep the 25-year-old on the reserve/suspended list in an effort to recoup some of his signing bonus. Blackmon’s service-time clock remains on hold during his suspension, so if he were to ever return to the Jaguars, he’d still be under contract with the team for multiple seasons.

Jaguars Not Expecting Blackmon To Play Again

Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon hasn’t appeared in a regular season NFL game since October of 2013, and general manager Dave Caldwell has had no contact with the suspended wideout. According to Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com, Caldwell indicated that the Jaguars believe Blackmon’s extended absence from the NFL likely spells the end of his playing career.

“I have not heard anything and I guess I harbor a little bit of hope but realistically I think when you’re away from the game for two-and-a-half years what you were once is not what you probably will be,” Caldwell said. “Your skills do erode and especially if you’re not staying in tip-top shape and you’re not in football shape. … I don’t know [what] to expect, but I would say common sense would probably be if you haven’t played football in two-and-a-half years apparently that’s not a priority for you.”

Blackmon was suspended indefinitely in 2013 for repeated violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and would have to apply for reinstatement and go through a lengthy vetting process before having the opportunity to get back on the field. The former fifth overall pick has been arrested on drug charges since being suspended, and completed a voluntary rehab program. However, there’s been no indication that he’s on his way back to the field anytime soon.

Despite their pessimism about Blackmon’s NFL future, the Jaguars will continue to keep the 25-year-old on their roster, on the reserve/suspended list. As Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union explains (via Twitter), the Jags hope to recoup some of the receiver’s signing bonus, which wouldn’t be possible if they release him.

Blackmon’s service-time clock remains on hold during his suspension, so if he were to ever return to the Jaguars, he’d still be under contract with the team for multiple seasons.

Jaguars GM On Jennings, Blackmon, Draft

Jaguars GM David Caldwell isn’t opposed to trading a draft pick for a veteran player. “Depends on the player,” he told Ryan O’Halloran (on Twitter) and the rest of the Jaguars’ beat writers. But how about Vikings running back Adrian Peterson?

He’s on the Vikings,” the GM said flatly.

Caldwell declined to really comment on AD, but he had plenty more to tell the group of local reporters. Here’s a look at the highlights of his presser..

  • The GM said he never made an offer to wide receiver Greg Jennings before he signed with the Dolphins, O’Halloran tweets. The Jags were among the teams interested in the veteran, along with the Panthers and Saints. The 31-year-old ultimately got a two-year, $8MM deal from Miami.
  • Caldwell says he’s not disappointed that the team hasn’t heard anything regarding wide receiver Justin Blackmon‘s status, Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com tweets. For now, the Jaguars will be going forward as planned without him.
  • The Jaguars have narrowed their choice at to three-to-five players if they stay put at No. 3, O’Halloran tweets. So far, he says he has yet to receive a call on the pick (link).
  • Caldwell said about 200 players are on the Jaguars’ board, O’Halloran tweets.
  • Caldwell emphasized the need for a difference-maker rather than two solid players, John Oehser of Jaguars.com tweets.

South Notes: Bucs, Blackmon, Wisniewski

The Buccaneers aren’t expected to trade the No. 1 pick, but that hasn’t stopped teams from asking, as Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times writes.

“It’s fair to assume someone is going to have to make a really good offer, yeah,” Bucs GM Jason Licht said. “And this time of year you get a lot of calls every day. Not making offers but just throwing, gauging your interest of if you would be open to it or not. And that will continue. But it would have to be an offer that makes this franchise, that sets this franchise even further ahead than what you thought you were going to with the decision you made.”

As the Bucs continue to mull their options for that first overall pick, let’s check in on some more notes from around the league’s two South divisions….

  • Asked by a reader about Justin Blackmon‘s future with the Jaguars, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union suggests the wideout is “done-zo” in Jacksonville. It’s a response to a chat question rather than the subject of an actual report, but O’Halloran, who views Amari Cooper as a strong option for the Jags at No. 3 overall, sounds pretty confident that Blackmon won’t play another game for the franchise.
  • Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post has the details on Stefen Wisniewski‘s one-year deal with the Jaguars, tweeting that the veteran center will earn a $1.25MM base salary to go along with a $500K signing bonus. The contract also features $250K in per-game roster bonuses, $500K in playing-time incentives, and an injury waiver.
  • West Virginia wide receiver Mario Alford, one of the fastest players in this year’s draft class, visited and worked out privately for the Falcons, according to Wilson. Wilson adds that NFL teams have primarily been working out Alford as a slot receiver, even though he mostly played outside at WVU.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Extra Points: Winston, Gregory, Suh

Potential No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston‘s off-field troubles persist, with the former Heisman Trophy winner being sued over a sexual assault allegation, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Matt Baker on Twitter.

The suit was filed by the same woman who accused Winston of rape in December 2012, citing claims of sexual battery, assault, false imprisonment and “intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of forcible rape,” Baker reports.

Attorneys for the woman filed a civil suit against Florida State in January. The Tallahassee Police Department did not charge Winston.

Here are some additional news items from around the league on Thursday.

  • Randy Gregory will visit the Titans on Friday, reports the Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt on Twitter. The Titans have already worked out pass-rushers Vic Beasley, Dante Fowler Jr., and Shane Ray.
  • The Lions hosted Florida offensive lineman D.J. Humphries and all-purpose runner, receiver and returner Marcus Murphy of Missouri on pre-draft visits, according to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com. Humphries is viewed as a probable first-round pick, while Murphy may be a late-rounder or an undrafted free agent.
  • Utah offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi has drawn interest from at least 15 NFL teams, says Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. According to Caplan (via Twitter) that Poutasi has visits with the Buccaneers, Colts, Eagles, and others, and workouts with the Panthers, Chargers, Raiders, Giants, Titans, and 49ers. Caplan adds (via Twitter) that most clubs project the Utah product as a right tackle or left guard in the NFL.
  • Colorado State-Pueblo pass-rusher Darius Allen‘s been busy in his quest for an NFL shot, despite hailing from a Division II school. The outside linebacker/defensive end has visited the Cardinals and Colts and worked out for the Seahawks and Cowboys in addition to doing so for the aforementioned franchises, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post.
  • Western Carolina safety Ace Clark has been invited to participate in the Ravens‘ local pro day on Tuesday, Wilson reports.
  • Also from Wilson: Purdue running back Raheem Mostert had a private workout for the Chiefs (Twitter link).
  • CBS Sports’ Joel Corry examined how the recent mega-contracts for Ben Roethlisberger and Ndamukong Suh will affect the upcoming quarterback market, including the 2012 draft class. The former agent said agents of yet-to-be extended quarterbacks will use the Suh extension to their advantage, given that the new Dolphins defensive tackle is being paid like a high-level signal-caller. Suh’s $59MM fully guaranteed cash is far more than top-market QBs Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees received in their recent extensions.
  • Hoping for clarity heading into the draft on suspended wideout Justin Blackmon, the Jaguars received none from the NFL, according to Ryan O’Halloran from the Florida Times-Union on Twitter. The league office reportedly gave the NFL Players Association no timetable. Blackmon’s been suspended since November 2013.

Luke Adams contributed to this report

Combine Pressers: Rams, Jags, Seahawks

Most head coaches and general managers who were scheduled to speak to the media in a press conference setting at the combine this week did so on Wednesday or Thursday, but there were still a few names left on the docket today. Three head coaches or GMs spoke to reporters at the podium in Indianapolis this morning and afternoon, and we’ve got a recap of their notable comments below, with all links going to Twitter unless otherwise indicated….

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher:

  • According to Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk, Fisher said today that a report suggesting Sam Bradford was allowed to seek a trade was “inaccurate.” However, he stressed that the Rams will definitely be keeping an eye out for a quarterback this offseason. “It could be a veteran, could be a draft pick,” Fisher said. “But it’s extremely important to have that option, yes.”
  • Fisher once again reiterated that the Rams want Bradford back, noting that the former first overall pick had dinner with new quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke last week before Weinke was hired.
  • In addition to interviewing Jeff Garcia, the Rams also spoke to Steve Walsh about their QB coach job before hiring Weinke, according to Fisher.
  • Jake Long‘s rehab is progressing and the team is working on figuring out where he could fit besides left tackle, with many options in play, said Fisher. Greg Robinson is poised to take over as the Rams’ permanent left tackle, meaning Long will either switch positions or be cut.

Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell:

  • The Jaguars will have a top-three pick once again this season, and while the club has held onto its top pick in recent years, Cadlwell is more willing to discuss the possibility of moving down this time around, writes Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. “I feel more open to it this year because we don’t need to have a guy come in and start,” Caldwell said. “We had no margin for error the last two years. We had to draft them and start them.”
  • If the Jags do decide to trade their pick, Caldwell expects it to be a last-minute move, since some teams wait until draft day to make a real offer.
  • The Jaguars head into March armed with a ton of cap space, and the team plans to be aggressive in free agency, but won’t “spend just to spend,” said Caldwell.
  • Caldwell has received second-hand reports telling him that wide receiver Justin Blackmon is making solid progress, trying to make positive strides in his life. Blackmon is slowly working his way toward reinstatement, as we heard a couple weeks ago.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll:

  • The Seahawks have made “big offers” to running back Marshawn Lynch, and engaged in “earnest” talks with him, per Carroll. The club is still waiting on Lynch to make a decision about the coming season, and if he decides to continue playing, it sounds like he’ll be rewarded with an extension.
  • Having lost coaches like Dan Quinn and Ken Norton to larger roles with other clubs, the Seahawks are still looking to fill a couple spots on their defensive staff, according to Carroll, who said the team is conducting interviews in Indianapolis.