Maurice Jones-Drew has been hungry for a contract extension lately. He has sat out of OTAs and other voluntary workouts thus far. While it isn’t abnormal for Jones-Drew to miss voluntary workouts with the team, it is becoming more and more clear that it is related to him getting some money.
Head Coach Mike Mularkey has expressed his desire for MJD to come to OTAs and voluntary workouts so he can be with the team, workout with the coaching staff, and show his leadership on a team that is young and in desperate need of established leadership. He has also said he is focused on controlling what he can.
In this case: getting the players that show up ready for the season.
If Jones-Drew isn’t there, then that’s his beef. Not Mularkey’s.
In the humble opinion of this author, the team should extend MJD sooner rather than later. Jones-Drew has proven that he isn’t a back that gives up due to simple injury. He will play through an entire season with an injured knee if he has to. And the Jags are better for it.
Despite the hard running style of Jones-Drew he probably won’t liability-level drop-off in his later years. If the Jaguars find a good spell-back for the next few years (or if Rashad Jennings can stay healthy) then the wear and tear on MJD should lessen, making a contract extension more viable and more beneficial.
Further, it is good for the Jaguars that MJD wants to stay here. Jones-Drew is one of the top three backs in the league. Some would argue the best back in the league. He runs well, he doesn’t fumble often, and he provides a superb safety valve for Blaine Gabbert as he develops. And despite all of the team’s troubles last year and the obvious rebuilding stage of the franchise, MJD wants to stay here longer. He, like many of us, has fallen in love with Jacksonville.
And we’re all in love with him.
Maurice Jones-Drew has the right mentality, the right disposition, the right work-ethic, and the right attitude heading into the 2012 season. There is no reason any of that will change with a contract extension and an increase in pay.
I’m excited to see Pocket Hercules back on the field. The sooner he gets there with a new extension, the better.
– Luke N. Sims