Maurice Jones-Drew is not happy with his front-loaded contract and now claims he is open to a trade.
Just do not expect the Jacksonville Jaguars to cave to his demands.
Unfortunately for the Jaguars, Jones-Drew and his agent mistakenly believe that they have any leverage in his holdout. The Jaguars are ready to move on this season without their leading rusher, but the team still expects Jones-Drew to honor the final two years remaining on the five-year, $31 million deal he signed prior to the 2009 season.
Despite many rumors that have emerged since Jones-Drew said he was open to a trade, I do not expect the Jaguars to trade him. Trading Jones-Drew would be them caving, and they have given no indications that they plan on doing that. The best the Jaguars could hope for in a trade would probably be a third-round draft pick, not nearly enough for them to be willing to part with an elite running back currently in his prime with two years left on his contract.
I don’t know what Jones-Drew thinks he would accomplish if he got traded anyways. No team would want to tear up the remaining two years on his deal to hand him to big money contract he desires.
Jones-Drew lost his allies in the Jaguars franchise in former owner Wayne Weaver and former coach Jack Del Rio. Del Rio still stubbornly believed that he could win with defense and a strong running game built around Jones-Drew. The Jaguars new owner Shahid Khan and new coach Mike Mularkey are trying to build their franchise around young quarterback Blaine Gabbert, because they understand what Del Rio never did. The NFL is now a pass first league and teams need to be built around the quarterback position, running backs have proven to be easily replaced in this new era.
The Jaguars offense has thrived so far this preseason without Jones-Drew in the backfield. His backup, Rashad Jennings, looks like a guy ready to be a featured back in the Jaguars offense. Even if Jones-Drew comes back, he is going to lose carries to Jennings. His value is diminished.
Jones-Drew is in a no win situation. His holdout has alienated the Jaguars fans that have adored him and from the franchise that took a chance on him even though many considered him undersized for the NFL.