At the age of 27, Maurice Jones-Drew feels it’s time for two things – Get paid like he thinks he deserves and/or play on a winning team. The Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t planning on giving him A) The kind of money he wants and B) A trade to somewhere else, for professional and personal reasons.
Jones-Drew still has two years on his contract, which means the Jags don’t have the slightest intention of opening his contract and give him a raise. Jones-Drew is set to earn $9.3 million in the coming two years, $4.5 this season. He feels, that a running back that’s been a Pro Bowler and All-Pro selection for three consecutive seasons; The NFL’s rushing leader with 1606 yards last season, also setting a new franchise record for the Jags, it’s time to get an upgrade in his contract.
But for the Jags, it’s reasonable not to give him that bounce in salary. One, the message it sends out to the rest of the employees, as owner Shad Khan said in July – It’s his choice. There’s been very little for us to do rather than wait on whatever he might choose to do … There’s more than 50 players under contract. 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?
The second main reason is simply the harsh truth of sports, the NFL and especially running backs, who usually have a shorter shelf life, especially after three seasons of extra wear and tear for Jones-Drew, getting 1084 touches these past three seasons. When his contract is over, after the 2013 season, Jones-Drew will be 29. Running backs aren’t worth premium money in their 30’s, especially after already peaking a couple of season earlier.
It’s safe to say (although you never know in pro football who might suddenly connect for a surprising season) that the Jaguars are headed to another season without a playoff in sight. Quarterback quarterback Blaine Gabbert will be better this year, but it won’t be enough. With Jones-Drew holding out so far, it’s going to be even harder making something out of this season and improving on the 5-11 record from last year.
Holding out is so far costing Jones-Drew money, but not just that. What team will want to trade for him if they know he’s just going to be as unhappy in the new place unless he gets the kind of money it simply seems unreasonable to give him? Returning to Jags camp and swallowing his pride and ego would simply be more beneficial for him and the Jaguars, who don’t mind him, financially at least, sitting out for as long as he likes. A trade isn’t coming anytime soon, and the only loser is Maurice Jones-Drew.