Last week, Jaguars owner Shahid Khan got the first test of his tenure as owner of the team, thanks to a public pissing match with the City of Jacksonville.
He hadn’t seen anything yet.
Khan now has to decide what to do with receiver Justin Blackmon, the fifth overall pick in the draft who consumed much more than a six-pack (allegedly) before getting behind the wheel of a car on Sunday morning.
Khan has options. He can do nothing, deferring to the authorities first and, if Blackmon is convicted or pleads guilty (or no contest or enters a diversion program), the league office second. At the other end of the spectrum, Khan can renounce his rights to Blackmon — which is almost as unlikely as Khan renouncing his rights to the franchise.
In between those two extremes resides a range of possibilities. Khan can, as previously explained, insist on provisions in Blackmon’s rookie deal that would erase future salary guarantees if Blackmon has any further incidents. Or Khan could insist on breaking from the slotting process, offering Blackmon a contract that represents a fair estimate of what he would receive based on where Blackmon would be selected if the draft were held today.
Khan could take that mindset to another level, explaining to Blackmon’s agent that the player will be offered a contract roughly worth what he would receive if he sits out a full year and re-enters the draft in 2012, inevitably being selected far lower than the fifth overall pick.
Then there’s the possibility (albeit remote) of sending Blackmon to a new team, now. Under Article 6, Section 4(b) of the CBA, a drafted rookie who has not signed a contract may be traded until 30 days before the first game of the regular season. (This year, the deadline is August 6.) Of course, that approach would reflect the ultimate in buying high and selling low; few teams would give the Jaguars at this point anything equivalent to the value of the fifth overall pick in the draft.
But it would send one hell of a message.
Khan’s choice, whatever it may be, will provide important insight into his views regarding the team he has purchased. Will winning overcome principal? Or will principal be massaged in a manner conducive to winning? A cynic may say that the final decision ultimately will be driven by the path most likely to sell tickets.
For more on the situation, along with other stuff about the team, here’s Mike Dempsey of 1010XL in Jacksonville on Monday’s PFT Live.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!