Perhaps Maurice Jones-Drew has overestimated his value to the Jacksonville Jaguars offense.
As the Jaguars star running back continues to sit out of the preseason, the offense continues to be successful without the guy who carried them for all of last season.
In the first half of the Jaguars 27-24 preseason victory over the New Orleans Saints, the first-team offense put up 17 points led by another impressive performance by second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert and Jones-Drew’s replacement Rashad Jennings. Jennings rushed 11 times on Friday night for 62 yards and has carried the ball 23 times for a total of 118 yards so far this preseason, and he has looked very good doing it.
The Jaguars seem to be so confident in Jennings that new owner Shahid Khan downplayed Jones-Drew’s absence before the game Friday night.
“Believe me, it’s not a great concern,” Khan told Michael Silver of Yahoo.com. “You hope for the best, and you plan for the worst. Our goals for the season don’t change, and if he isn’t here, he isn’t here. I don’t control it. It’s his choice.”
Jones-Drew has been absent from the Jaguars facility the entire offseason as he continues to hold out in hopes of getting a new deal. The Jaguars have still given no indication that they are willing to tear up his contract that has two years left on it. Unlike other running back holdout this offseason, Jones-Drew is not playing on a rookie contract and is due to make $9.4 million over the next two seasons.
The Jaguars believe that the five-year, $31 million contract they gave him prior to the 2009 season before he was a workhorse running back was fair. The problem with the contract is that it was front loaded, but Jones-Drew knew that when he signed it.
Unfortunately for Jones-Drew, the Jaguars offense has looked far better than anybody expected this preseason. Nothing Khan has seen this preseason has motivated him to negotiate with Jones-Drew and it appears that this holdout is nowhere near a conclusion.