The Jacksonville Jaguars are only one day away from the start of their training camp, but they remain unsure as to whether or not their best player will show up.
Star running back Maurice Jones-Drew has been a no show for all of the Jaguars offseason workouts and has expressed his desire to both the team and the media for a new contract. On the other hand, the Jaguars have said publicly that they are not going to negotiate with a player who has two years remaining on his current contract.
The truth is that Jones-Drew has no leverage in his quest for a new contract. He is still under the Jaguars control for the next two seasons and if he chooses to sit out for an extended period of time, then he will not get credit for playing this season and he will still have two years remaining on his contract.
The Jaguars also have a more than capable backup in Rashad Jennings. Jennings proved in 2010 that he was more than capable of carrying the load and the Jaguars have made a conscious effort this offseason to make their offense more passing friendly.
Sure Jones-Drew is currently in the peak of his career and has outplayed his current contract, but the Jaguars believe that they deserve some loyalty from their star for tearing up his rookie contract early and giving him a big deal before he became the workhorse runner that he has evolved into.
So, if Jones-Drew does not report for training camp and continues to force the issue on getting a new contract, would the Jaguars consider trading him?
I think they should explore trade options if Jones-Drew is insistent on holding out. At 27-years-old, it is not hard to see that his best years are behind him. We have also seen that running back has become easier and easier to replace in this current pass happy era of the NFL.
In the end, I think Jones-Drew reports and plays for his current contract and the Jaguars take care of him next offseason. However, they would be foolish to not explore their options if he decides to be a distraction.
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