Welcome to the bye week, fellow Arrowhead Pride-ers! The unthinkable has officially happened: the Chiefs have made it to the bye week a perfect 9-0! Thanks to the bye week, we have an opportunity to step back and focus on things other than Sunday's opponent. Because of that, I want to take a look at a few things that have been bouncing around my head for a few weeks. I'm going to start with something from this past weekend: Justin Blackmon's suspension.
In this weeks MMQB column, Peter King examines why the Jaguars are so bad. He points out that of the 26 players selected by former Jacksonville GM Gene Smith in his four NFL drafts, only four of them will be starters for the team when they play Tennessee in Week 10. (The headline of this post aside, just think about that for a second. What a horrible GM. Say what you will about Scott Pioli, but at least he left KC with a roster loaded with talent.) He also droped in this nugget about mercurial wide receiver Justin Blackmon:
Smith made four top-10 picks in his tenure. Tackle Eugene Monroe (ninth overall, 2009) was a marginal starter who was traded to Baltimore last month. Alualu (10th, 2010) would be a backup on many NFL teams. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert (10th, 2011) has been a disaster and may not make the 2014 roster. And Blackmon (fifth, 2012) came into the draft with one DUI charge and has had three more substance-abuse-related occurrences since, the latest of which resulted in his banishment for the rest of the season. It's in serious doubt whether Blackmon will ever play another snap for Jacksonville.
Let's start the discussion with this: obviously Blackmon has a substance abuse problem, and the most important thing for him is to get help for it. Because of his suspension, he has been placed in the NFL substance abuse program and has entered a rehab facility. Football aside, I hope he can get the help he needs to be successful for the rest of his football career, and after it ends.
He most likely will not suit up for any NFL team until the 2014 NFL season, so the question we should ask is this: do you think John Dorsey and Andy Reid should seek to acquire Justin Blackmon this offseason? Let's run down a quick list of pros and cons to acquiring Blackmon:
1. He's an undeniable talent. Here are his stats in 20 career games: 93 rec, 1,280 yds, 6 TD, 58 first downs gained. And that's with Blaine Gabbertt and Chad Henne throwing to him. He has the size, speed, and skills to be a legit No. 1 WR. Apparently he is well-liked in the Jaguars' locker room.
2. He would come cheap. If the Chiefs acquired him for the 2014 season, he would only be on the third year of his four-year rookie contract. His rookie contract is a fully-guaranteed 4-year, $18.5 mil deal, meaning the Chiefs would owe him about $9.25 mil over the last two years of his contract. Even though that would make him about the Chiefs' 12th or 13th highest paid player, consider the context. The Chiefs are paying Anthony Fasano (he of the 11 catches and zero TD's this year) and Mike DeVito $4 mil and $4.2 mil per year, respectively. If DeVito and Fasano are worth $4 mil per year, then Justin Blackmon certainly is.
3. It's a low-risk, high-reward signing. Because Scott Pioli left the Chiefs with a clean cap sheet, the Chiefs could easily absorb the risk of Blackmon's contract. If he doesn't work out then it's a one year mistake. But if he figures it out and gets his act together? Then the Chiefs have an inside track on re-signing a franchise-caliber WR.
4. The Chiefs have the locker room culture Blackmon needs. As we all know, Scott Pioli valued character players very highly. Thanks to him, as well as Dorsey and Reid, the Chiefs have a rock-solid locker room culture. The general rule in sports is you can have one head case on your team and be ok. He just can't have someone to hang out with. The Chiefs have the right collection of veterans and solid character guys to keep Blackmon in line.
5. The Chiefs need WR help. Let's be honest, the offense hasn't blown anyone away this year. Dwayne Bow, Donnie Avery, Junior Hemingway and A.J. Jenkins haven't done anything this year that would guarantee them a spot on next year's squad (if contracts weren't a factor). Blackmon would fill a need.
1. He's a head case. Adam "Pacman" Jones. Rickey Williams. Aaron Hernandez. Plaxico Burress. Terrell Owens. Albert Haynesworth. Need I say more? I don't know Blackmon, and I don't know what his problems are or what his life story is. But sometimes guys just can't stay out of trouble off the field. If you sign or trade for Blackmon, there's always the risk that he's not going to play very many games for you.
2. His contract is fully guaranteed. Even though he's on a relatively cheap rookie contract, it is fully guaranteed. So unless he is released by the Jaguars and you can sign him to an incentive-laden, non-fully guaranteed contract you're on the hook for the full $9+ mil.
3. How much would a team have to give up to get him? If the Jags release him, then a team doesn't really have to give up anything. But who knows how much the Jags would want for him in a trade. With all his baggage, I wouldn't give up anything higher than a 4th round pick for him. (And because this will come up in the comments, I am aware that the Chiefs don't own their 2nd round pick in the 2014 draft due to the Alex Smith trade.)
So, would you try to acquire Blackmon? If so, what would you give up for him?