The Jaguars star running back is not planning on showing up on Tuesday for the start of the team’s mandatory minicamp, and is planning on holding out even longer to express his displeasure with his current contract.
There are rumors that Jones-Drew’s holdout could cause him to sit out games this season.
Unfortunately for Jones-Drew, he has absolutely no leverage in his desire for a new contract and the Jaguars should not budge in their stance that they will not negotiate a new contract for their star player.
The Jaguars have Jones-Drew under contract for the next two seasons, so they have no urgency to give him a new deal.
While their is no question that Jones-Drew has outperformed his current contract, the Jaguars took a major chance when they ripped up his rookie contract early and handed him a huge five-year $31 million contract prior to the 2009 season. The Jaguars gave him that huge contract before Jones-Drew became the workhorse running back he has evolved into.
It is understandable that Jones-Drew is desperate to get one last major payday before he becomes obsolete like so many running backs have done in recent history. At 27-years-old, Jones-Drew has had a ton of use on his legs and his physical style of running the football suggest that he is not going to enjoy a particularly long NFL career.
Jones-Drew’s only leverage in this situation is that he was responsible for most of the Jaguars offense last season. However, the Jaguars and new head coach Mike Mularkey have put such a major emphasis on improving their passing attack this season that the Jaguars should not need to lean so heavily on the rushing attack this season.
Even if Jones-Drew’s holdout lasts into the regular season, the Jaguars have a more than adequate alternative in Rashad Jennings. Jennings could be a starting running back on several other NFL teams, and has shown in the past that he is more than capable of carrying the load.
The bottom line is that Jones-Drew cannot afford to sit out for two seasons in the midst of the prime of his career because it will have an even greater impact on his ability to get his next contract. The best thing he can do is to show up and continue to perform at the level he has shown he is capable of over the past three seasons and then broach the topic of a new contract next year.
The Jaguars hold all of the cards in this situation and they should be firm in their lack of desire to give Jones-Drew a new contract this offseason.