The NFL is a young man’s sport, a truth that is tough to swallow for players as they age through the league. Considering his body of work, the work put on his body as well as his age, MJD is in the prime of his career with over 1400 carries to his name. Starting as a complement to Fred Taylor, he has far surpassed expectations as a starter as he accounted for about half of the total offense in last years debacle of an offense.
MJD was rewarded for his feats in 2009 with a four year contract extension worth over $30 million, making him one of the highest paid backs of the time. Now in 2012, he is only the 9th highest paid back in base salary according to sportrac.com. His reaction to this was to forego team workouts and mandatory minicamp.
While Jones-Drew has two years left on his contract, it’s tough to argue why he wouldn’t hold out. New owner Shahid Khan, the new Jaguars owner, has made an “All In” campaign for his commitment to the Jags, as well as publicly stating his checkbook is open and he is willing to spend to the cap. If he is true to his word, the argument could be made to spend on the one player who has helped the Jaguars succeed the most. To compare, MJD is to the Jaguars as Drew Brees is to the Saints.
While I agree Jones-Drew is jumping the gun early in an apparent hold out, he has always worked out with former Jaguar and friend Fred Taylor during every offseason. Gene Smith has also made it clear that Jones-Drew should honor the two years left on his contract, which read in between the lines means he’s a year early on the holdout.
While I don’t believe MJD is greedy, he should also consider his teammates as Tom Brady has in the past, taking a lower paying contract so the team can sign more weapons around him. Expiring contracts this season include, Terrance Knighton, Daryl Smith, Eben Britton, and Derek Cox, among others. While I don’t believe it would be a problem to sign back all these players plus draft picks for the following year, free agency could be a problem if the cap hit is raised significantly.
While it’s impossible to get into these players’ heads, it is more likely than not for MJD to show up during the preseason, even though he probably won’t take a snap until late if any. MJD is a player than prides himself as a great player and wants to be the best, with statements like beating Emmitt Smith’s rushing record this past season, as well as giving his fantasy owners something to cheer about.
– Antonio Furgiuele