If the Jacksonville Jaguars were the center of Jerry Maguire, then Maurice Jones-Drew had fans at hello.
Jones-Drew was drafted as the beloved Fred Taylor’s replacement and he never disappointed. In his first three seasons of his career, he complemented Taylor until the Jaguars eventually released Taylor in 2008. Since then, Jones-Drew has been outstanding by rushing for over 1300 yards a year as the starter.
Now, like Rod Tidwell proclaimed, Maurice Jones-Drew wants his team to “show him the money.”
However, Jones-Drew was already shown the money when he signed a 5 year, 30.95 million dollar contract. His team might be awful, but the last thing Jacksonville should do is extend his contract with two years left on his deal. Based on new owner Shad Khan’s comments, that isn’t happening either.
“There’s no decision here,” Khan said to the Florida-Time Union earlier in the week. “There are other people under contract in management, coaches. Does that mean if you do it for one, you do it for everybody?”
“Where do you draw the line?”
Khan’s comments were right on the money, just not the money for Jones-Drew. There is no reason that the Jaguars need to extend MJD’s contract with their franchise running back making 8.13 million this year.
Don’t give me that garbage of “he’s outperforming his contract” either. That’s what the contract, which made him one of the three highest-paid running backs in football at the time, was for. He was given an enormous contract to produce those types of numbers.
Just because Jacksonville has been a mediocre team since 2007 doesn’t mean that Shad Khan needs to panic because his star player is holding out. Other teams with similar situations would do the exact same. Take a look at Lance Briggs or Darrelle Revis, both players who wanted a new contract with two years left remaining.
Last year, the Bears were faced with potential Lance Briggs drama when he demanded to be traded if he didn’t receive a new contact. Instead of caving to his demands, the Bears rode it out and they agreed on an additional year extension through 2014.
For Revis, the contract situation is highly similar. Revis, who pondered about holding out before training camp this year, wanted a contract extension two years into his four year, 32 million guaranteed deal. The Jets held steady and instead of throwing a fit, Revis wisely reported to camp.
Instead of Jones-Drew following Revis’ route, the 27 year old running back chose to hold out. If MJD wants an extension, he should have waited to hold out after this season. I’m not for players holding out, although I get the “leverage” that goes into it. However by holding out this year, Jones-Drew has no leverage yet.
Jones-Drew risks himself at the same type of rust that Chris Johnson had the year before. Johnson’s holdout worked by becoming the highest paid running back in the league, but at least he was in the last year of his contract. Johnson’s play also suffered afterwards when he posted the worst stats of his career (1,047 yards on 262 carries with four TDs and three fumbles). Except this year, Jones-Drew won’t be getting that contract.
Perhaps the best case scenario for both parties involved is to trade Maurice Jones-Drew. If Jacksonville can get a team to sell the farm for their star running back, they’ll get multiple picks that could go a long way in rebuilding their team. For Jones-Drew, he’d most likely get a new contract as well.
Maybe this is what Jones-Drew wanted all along. Realizing that the Jaguars were going nowhere, he realized that if he played tough throughout training camp the team would have “no choice” but to deal him.
Maybe he thought he could take advantage of a new owner. Maybe he’s sick of Jacksonville. Maybe he just wants a new contract before he gets too close to 30.
Whatever the case is, don’t except Shad Khan telling Jones-Drew “you complete me” by offering a fat new contract.
At least for this year, anyway.
What do you think of Maurice Jones-Drew and the saga in Jacksonville? Let us know it the comments.
Questions and comments can be sent to Matt at email@example.com or reply in the comments section. You can follow him @Mparas1432.