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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Does Maurice Jones-Drew Have a Future In Jacksonville?

By on 12/26/2013 03:00:00 PM

There are some miles on the tread for Jaguars' running back Maurice Jones-Drew, and many believe that this Sunday's match-up with the Indianapolis Colts will be his last with the franchise.

There have also been reports that MJD wants to stay in Jacksonville, prompting one to wonder why he would stick with a team that completely whiffed on a contract extension in the offseason. While the  business side of the ball is never easy to predict, Jones-Drew was the lone bright spot of this team for eight years, and deserved some green in return for his dedication.

Jones-Drew's 2013 numbers are easily the worst of his career. He is averaging only 3.5 YPC this season -- well under his career average of 4.5. The down year followed a 2012 season where he missed 10 games with a Lisfranc injury. Are his "golden days' behind him? Jones-Drew doesn't see it that way:
"I know what I have left, and I feel like it’s a lot,” he said after the Jaguars’ Christmas Eve walk-through. “I’ll just go home, relax and hopefully things will work out for the best.”
This is the final season of Jones-Drew's five-year, $31.1 million contract. He refuses to discuss his impending free agency, emphatically citing his holdout in 2012 as the time where a future contract should have been addressed.

There is a slew of running back talent set to hit free agency this offseason: Ben Tate, Darren McFadden, Rashad Jennings, Knowshon Moreno, Toby Gerhart, and Donald Brown are all viable options at the position. Being said, MJD is the only one with a proven track record.

There is a set barometer for future contract negotiations, as the three-year, $12 million payout for Atlanta's Steven Jackson in the offseason has paved the way for the imminent contractual conversation.

It is worth noting that Jones-Drew owns property in both Jacksonville and Northern California, as the Oakland born and UCLA product has an affinity for his home state. Could MJD again affect the playing time of Rashad Jennings should they both wind up in Silver and Black?

What the future holds for MJD is completely unknown. He has stated that he will focus on getting back to full health while preparing for a successful 2014 campaign this offseason. The situation is worth monitoring, but it seems as if a return to Jacksonville outweighs the prospect of leaving.

Information in this report was found in The Florida Times-Union.


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