Jerry Porter: Banking Big Bucks while Bumming on the Bench
The importance of symbols:
The 2008 Jacksonville Jaguars are a difficult beast to wrap your mind around. They failed at every possible level, whether it be from injuries, slow burn draft picks, failure to reconcile off the field hype with on the field performance and in the acquisition of new players. Resolving these myriad issues requires bold action and disipline, particularly in not throwing good money after bad. The 2009 Jaguars need to open their offseason with a bang, a shot across the bow, a mea culpa where the team announces to the world that they are not the 2008 Jaguars, they recognize their mistakes, and they will move on knowing that the worst is behind them.
The Jacksonville Jaguars must release Jerry Porter, regardless of the cap hit, positional issues, or potential performance in 2009. Jerry Porter, like no other player, symbolizes the failure of the team to fulfill performance promises. Seven games, 11 receptions, 181 yards and one touchdown. Or about a million dollars a catch, depending on how you slice it. He also represents the locker room chemistry issue that devastated the Jaguars. Of course, much of what is accused of Porter is unsubstantiated, but for our purposes, rumor is as good as fact. The simple fact that there is a whisper campaign against porter at all is an indictment of his role on the team.
Whether he really did come to the Stadium in a new car each and every week and brag about it to his teammates or if he was actually the last person to get to the locker room and the first one to leave is factual, players who are seen as positive factors do not get this stigma attached to them. His failure to fulfill one iota of his contract after receiving an enormous signing bonus combined with the rumors and whispers adds to my strong belief that any upside to Porter in 2009 is not worth the price of admission.
To bastardize the Brothers Karamazov, if the price of a sucessful year of Wide Receivers is keeping Jerry Porter, I respectfully return my ticket.
Releasing Jerry Porter is a cleansing move. It sends a message that no player is secure on the team no matter how big the financial obligation. It says that contributions to the team are the driving force behind decisions, not individuals, and it marks a significant break point from the previous administration. Drayton Florence, despite sub par performance, at least demonstrated effort on the field. Porter contributed nothing and drew the ire of Jack Del Rio because of it. Make the move, move on, and clean the plate for 2009.
As I say all the time, Big Cat Country is not a reactionary place. Sure, I'm quick to pass judgement, but you'll rarely have me call for a player or coaches head on a platter. Not this time. Jerry Porter needs to be released as quickly as possible. Now would be as good of a time as any. Unless, of course, the team wants to truly punish Porter by holding on to him until the last possible moment in August, but I'd rather see the Jaguars have a spot on the roster open for a player who can contribute, rather than a guy who's made his money, torn up two locker rooms, and needs to get out of Jacksonville on the first flight out.
Goodbye, good riddance, don't let the door hit you, etc.