August 22, 2012
Jacksonville Jaguars star running back Maurice Jones-Drew had been holding out all summer with a desire for a new contract. Despite having two year remaining on an already fairly lucrative contact, the 2011 NFL leading rusher feels he has out-played his current deal and wants more money.
Per the Jaguars’ front office and new owner Shad Khan all summer long, that’s not happening. Comments by Khan recently referring to Maurice Jones-Drew getting “on the train” and to “run” to do so have apparently further angered the running back. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter via Twitter, Jones-Drew is so angry, that he is now open to a trade out of Jacksonville.
Jones-Drew is a huge part of the offensive puzzle in Jacksonville, but I say give him what he wants. Not a new contract, but rather, a trade out of the bottom of the AFC South.
As good as MJD is, he was only good enough to help the Jaguars get to 4-12 in 2011, and he’s not going to be the difference between that and a trip back to the playoffs this season. If anything, the development of second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert and the team’s defense will dictate their 2012 fortunes.
In fact, MJD has already technically been replaced. And he’s helped the team discover his replacement. While sitting out, Jones-Drew has allowed the Jaguars’ coaching staff to see what a competent replacement they have in backup Rashad Jennings. Working with the first team offense all summer, Jennings has done nothing but draw rave reviews, and was extremely impressive in both preseason games.
Jones-Drew is fresh off of a crazy 1,606-rushing yard season and is still in the prime of his career, but the Jaguars might actually be wise to listen to his trade request – whether or not he’s serious. Per reports, Jones-Drew is adamant about holding out for a new deal, and his stay away from the team is likely to extend into the regular season. And if it gets to the point where he’s actually missing games, then it could also get to the point where he doesn’t play at all.
Why not let the bridge collapse now, when Jones-Drew’s value is at it’s highest point, when you can get them most value in return for him? I say pull the trigger.
Jones-Drew is a top-10 NFL running back, without question, but one could argue he’s more valuable to fantasy football owners as a member of the Jaguars these days, than the actual Jaguars, themselves. The reality is, MJD has a lot of mileage on his legs over the past three years. Ever since taking over as the full-time starter back in 2009, Jones-Drew has piled on well over 300 total touches in each of the last three seasons, while loading up for a whopping 387 total touches last season.
Needless to say, the soon to be 28-year old could be another long rushing attempt-loaded NFL season away from breaking down – for good. The Jaguars clearly wouldn’t be wise to feed him even more cash than they’re already paying him at this point; much less extend him, considering he’ll be pushing 30 by the time his current contract dries up.
Instead, if they just bought into Rashad Jennings (who is very talented, by the way), and traded Jones-Drew away for all they could get, it’d end up being the better investment for the franchise.
Maurice Jones-Drew wants more money or a new deal, however you want to spin it. He’s not going to get it. If that is indeed the case, it looks like he doesn’t want to play another down for a team that isn’t willing to pay him what he feels he is entitled to. As it stands, the Jaguars need to back off their “no way” stance on trading him, and pull the trigger on the best deal they catch wind of in the next few days.
If not, this whole situation could get even nastier as the weeks wain on.