Jaguars Don’t Know if Maurice Jones-Drew Will Report to Camp
Jacksonville Jaguars star running back Maurice Jones-Drew looks to be holding out with hopes of getting a new contract. His current contract has two years left and is worth $9.5 million. Head coach Mike Mularkey has said he has not been in contact with Jones-Drew and is unclear on his status for the start of training camp.
Both sides are at a stalemate and it seems to be the contest of who blinks first. We also saw this same scenario last year with Chris Johnson. Johnson felt he was undervalued under his deal and held out, missing most of training camp and the preseason. Eventually, a deal was reached but Johnson wasn’t the same and had a disappointing year by his standards.
I think MJD is using the same leverage that Johnson used. Jones-Drew was the NFL’s leading rusher last season. He is currently being paid as the eighth highest running back in the league. He wants to be in the top tier. Even though he has two years left on his current deal MJD is using this past season to his advantage. He’s using his top running back stats from last year along with the fact that he was the only bright spot for this team. With no guarantees in terms of injury and his top status last season, it just makes sense that he would try and get a new deal now. He has to try when he has his best shot and the leverage to do so.
Looking at it from the Jaguars perspective it’s easy to say you are under contract and you should play under the deal you signed. But I can’t blame Jones-Drew for doing what he’s doing. If he plays this year under his existing contract and gets hurt, he has no further guarantees and Jacksonville will just find another back to replace him. The risk is far greater from MJD’s point of view. Jacksonville should just realize the fact that they need this guy. They sould look at it as giving him a raise based on his career body of work.
You know both sides want to get a deal done. And I would expect that it comes down to the wire and a deal gets reached just like Chris Johnson and the Titans. It’s obvious the sooner the better but if it does come down to the wire, will MJD struggle like Chris Johnson did last year or will he pick up right where he left off?
As fantasy owners, we know where we want to draft him and what his value is. And it’s hard to draft a guy #3 overall when it’s possible he might not even play. Although it’s scary, don’t be afraid. I think a deal will be done and he’ll play this year. Your only hesitaion is if missing training camp hurts him like it clearly did Chris Johnson in 2011.