I know that I'm not your agent, so these words don't really mean anything to you. If you'll bear with me for a second though, your world may be forever changed. Okay, maybe that's a bit of an embellishment. Either way, my words are that of a fan, a nobody, so I won't hate you if you decide to make the choice of "doing what's right for your family," can't promise I'd be much different.
The thing is, this whole hold-out thing has become a huge distraction. Not even just for us (the fans/nobodies), the team or the locker room; most importantly, it's a distraction for you.
But allow me to put a far more savvy spin on the distraction. You see, I'm not saying you'll be missing the learning curve or you'll end up somehow less talented like all the others. You've already heard that this week and besides, you're Justin F@#$%'n Blackmon and you'll catch on just fine - that's why you were drafted 5th overall. I mean, even if you do fall back a little bit, it's only your rookie year and there's an entire career you have ahead of you so why not do the mature and patient thing to take care of yourself, first. But, here's what you're missing...The Jaguars fan base are tired. Tired of hearing how bad everything about us is. Over the past few years, we've witnessed a slow transition from bad to not completely bad and now with our Defense and Maurice Jones-Drew, perhaps even good. It's no secret that you have to have a good passing game in this league to win and that's not something we've had in a very, very long time. That's where you come in.
We fans are getting excited. We're hungry to see what our "new" offense can do, and you're a key part of it. Many people will have expectations that you put up AJ Green numbers, but that's not important. What's important is that you can become that go-to guy for Gabbert, and we're pretty enthusiastic that you can do it. Picture this:
The Jags' biggest star is holding out, but the star of the future signs and comes to camp. We're talking instant jersey sales spike. We're talking people respecting you for owning up to the mistake you made by compromising on that contract wording. It shows us, and please excuse the cliché, that you're "All In". It shows us your commitment to our brand. I know it's cheesy, but the timing of the desperation/legit excitement of our fan base is calling for you.
Not only would be signed AFTER Jones-Drew take the heat off of you and direct it elsewhere, you caving into the holdout would make you far more noble than if you had simply signed without a holdout. It's drama, and a great story and the critics will love you for it. That's without you even doing anything yet.
I'm obligated to Captain Obvious when I reiterate how being in camp would speed up your impact on our offense, but lets take a quick look at history. Guys like Michael Crabtree, Darius Heyward-Bey, Jonathon Baldwin (and many, many more) have been killed by the media for not instantly living up to the hype. Since you will be better than them, you won't have to worry about that because you can silence the critics right? Look no further than Blaine Gabbert.
You see, the national media may not have an "agenda" against us exactly, but they do love to pick on our mistakes, for long periods of time, and without much attention to detail or patience. If Gabbert had struggled in Minnesota and Christian Ponder struggled here, Ponder's struggle would have been the bigger story. Let's take one more look at that positive spin.
What if you're the guy that succeeds in Jacksonville. They've kicked us so long that it's almost been booked by Vince McMahon, himself. One big win, or in this case Justin Blackmon having a solid or better rookie year, could turn the Jaguars from the biggest "heel" into the biggest "face" (or good guy, for those who don't follow). You could be the guy who gets all the credit.
The critics will reward your proving them right with showers of attention. Over and over they will talk about how you could be the piece we needed, and the tool Gabbert needed to "gain confidence" (who they will probably be shifting some credit from because he'll prove them wrong after they called him bad, after proving them wrong when they called him good).
The fans will reward your actions with ticket sales, posters, jerseys. Guess what you get to do when it's time for that second contract, should this all be true? That's right, make more money! You will have the leverage that Jones-Drew has lost for next year, or the next. That leverage is in addition to bringing in the revenue and being great (which clearly MJD has), you're also committed to the team. The team who committed 2 draft picks and whatever guaranteed money you get for staying sober. It will be evidence that you are committed to your word.
Or you can go on being the last holdout.
I wish you all the best and can't wait to see what you can do.
P.S. Tomorrow, I'll be writing your teammate, Maurice Jones-Drew, a similar letter. I thought I'd give you a head start on the competition; a competition I really hope you win!