Maurice Jones-Drew has made it known he is unhappy with his current contract and the reigning rushing yardage leader wants a new deal from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jones-Drew currently has two years remaining his his current deal but he believes he is being underpaid at $4.45 million this season and $4.95 million for 2013. The UCLA back rushed for 1,606 yards and eight touchdowns for the Jaguars last season on what was an otherwise dreadful offensive team. Jones-Drew accounted for slightly less than 50% of the Jaguars offensive yards last season.
Jones-Drew, speaking to the NFL Network said he hopes that the two sides can get something done prior to the start of the regular season. “What I can say is that I hope that we can get something done, but to talk about it in the media is not going to help. Hopefully we can have something where we can be able to get out there and play in the future.”
This will be an interesting situation to watch moving forward. Jacksonville is going to need Jones-Drew in the lineup if they have any intention of seeing QB Blaine Gabbert develop. The fact that he was able to rush for 1600 yards last season on a team which averaged just 132 yards per game through the air is pretty remarkable. He also has to realize that right now he has the most leverage while in the prime of his career. This will likely be his last shot at securing a large payday. At the end of his current contract, Jones-Drew is be 29 and the current environment in the NFL is not seeing running backs nearing the age of 30, securing any large deals.
Although he has not admitted as much publicly, numerous reports suggest that Jones-Drew is prepared to holdout the entire Jacksonville Jaguars training camp and perhaps allow his holdout to stretch into the start of the regular season.He has skipped all of Jacksonville’s offseason workouts and minicamps to date.
Fantasy Football implications- If Jones-Drew does miss all of the Jaguars’ training camp and preseason, one has to wonder what shape he will be in when he finally does hit the field. See Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans last season. If he shows up for Week One after skipping all of the preseason, look for a slow start from MJD. He faces Minnesota, Houston and Cincinnati in three of the first four weeks of the season and has an early bye in Week Six. Rashard Jennings would likely be the Jaguars starter if MJD misses regular season games.