In one of the most obvious scenarios before the trade deadline of the 2013 NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars are looking for teams who’d want to take a chance on an aging, declining running back named Maurice Jones-Drew, who has no chance of playing for his current team after this season. For now, it seems there’s some interest from the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers.
The 28 year old running back is playing behind the worst run-block unit in the NFL and the worst offense in the league, so it’s no surprise he’s averaging only 2.9 yards per carry. He had a strong 2012 season with 4.8 yards per carry before a foot injury kept him out after October. He’s had plenty of touches throughout his career (1,965) which means there’s quite a lot of wear and tear on his body, but he’s a free agent at the end of the season, and can still be productive in the right scheme. The Jags, in any case, continuing their massive rebuild, won’t be giving him an extension.
So the Dallas Cowboys, who have been mentioned with almost every available running back (including Ben Tate of the Houston Texans), might have a look. DeMarco Murray is injured once again, which means that if the Cowboys plan on being more than a .500 team again and having some sort of chance in the playoffs, having a reliable option at running back is a must. The problem is Jones-Drew has his own health issues, and a half-season rental might not be what Dallas are looking for.
The New York Jets lost Mike Goodson for the season, and even though Bilal Powell is someone Rex Ryan loves very much, he might need another running back in the mix as the Jets surprisingly find themselves in playoff contention. Chris Ivory has hardly been used, which makes even more sense bringing in another running back.
The St. Louis Rams are 28th in the NFL this season with 71.8 rushing yards per game, struggling to overcome the departure of Steven Jackson. Rookie Zac Stacy has been doing well for them, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, but the Rams might be looking for someone like Jones-Drew who can compliment the developing Stacy, giving him a contract in the offseason to shoulder the weight of the running game.
Last but not least are the San Diego Chargers, who did get a big game from Ryan Mathews against the Indianapolis Colts, but those have been a rarity in his career. If Jones-Drew isn’t as washed up as his numbers might suggest, he’d be an upgrade to Mathews, which might actually make the Chargers into playoff contenders.