- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Justin Blackmon can’t make up 11 missed days all at once, and the Jaguars will have to make sure he doesn’t try.
Emerging from a contract impasse often comes with eagerness from the player that turns into a pulled hamstring or some such.
The rules of the new CBA dictate the way teams gradually amp such a player up to speed.
Blackmon gets four years and about $18.5 million.
He’s behind. He’ll need to work with receivers coach Jerry Sullivan in the classroom just as much as with quarterback Blaine Gabbert on the field to get caught up. Eventually, he will push second-year man Cecil Shorts down the depth chart. He’s been working in the Jaguars’ Z spot tabbed for Shorts.
Preparing Blackmon should be a deliberate process, aimed at having the fifth overall pick in the draft ready for the Sept. 9 season opener at Minnesota.
Blackmon’s contract only solves one of the Jaguars two big contract issues.
Veteran running back Maurice Jones-Drew is under contract through 2013, but has not been with the team since the 2011 season ended. He is trying to leverage for a new contract. The team has said it has no plan to negotiate given the existing deal.