Things have changed since the last time Maurice Jones-Drew signed a new contract. For the RB, it’s been since 2009. Although we’re only talking about five seasons, the landscape of the entire NFL has changed in that time. On top of that, MJD is now a soon-to-be 29-year old RB with a serious injury on his record. So it begs the question — what kind of money will he command on the free agent market?
The answer to that question is unclear at this point. However, we can safely assume that MJD won’t even be making close to as much money with his new deal. The RB’s expiring contract was worth $31 million over five years. That’s $6 million per season. To be blunt, there are very few RBs worth that kind of money in today’s pass-happy NFL.
Given that MJD’s stock is pretty low right now (coming off a career low 3.4 yards per carry), there’s only one way he’ll return to the Jacksonville Jaguars — if he’s willing to play for a lot less money. Simply put, the rebuilding Jags can’t afford to pay big money to an aging RB.
Here’s what Jones-Drew said recently about Jacksonville letting him test the open market:
“I’m fine with it. I kind of figured that because we didn’t talk throughout the year. That’s part of the business. There’s no hard feelings. I gave everything I could to the organization. I appreciate them giving me that opportunity. Wherever I go next year, they’ll have a person ready to play at a high level.”
He added that the ball is in the Jags’ court at this point and didn’t rule out a return.
The odds are that MJD’s time in Jacksonville is up. I think he’ll take the best offer he can get and that offer is not going to be from the Jags. Given what we know about the RB market these days, you could say that he’d be extremely lucky to get an offer for even half of what he’s currently making.
Jones-Drew will only return to Jacksonville if he doesn’t get the money he wants elsewhere. If the offers on the table are about the same, he could decide his heart is still with the Jags.