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Report: Maurice Jones-Drew will skip mini-camp, willing to hold out season

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Jones-Drew is beginning what could be an ugly holdout. (US Presswire)

On Monday we made note that Jaguars GM Gene Smith had no interest in handing out a new contract to All-Pro running back Maurice Jones-Drew. (Someone didn't alert Smith that Pete Prisco thinks MJD is the 19th-best player in the NFL, apparently.)

Well, Smith saying that doesn't appear to have any bearing on whether or not MJD is going to show up: according to Tania Ganguli of the Florida Union-Times, Mojo won't be showing up for minicamp and might hold out through the regular season.
As noted on Monday, if Jones-Drew skips the mandatory minicamp, he's subject to being fined upwards of $63,000 for missing all three days because he is still under contract. (The first day is worth $10,500, the second is worth $21,000, and the third is worth $31,500.)

But the minicamp isn't a big thing, really. It stinks for MJD that he can't work with his teammates, and it stinks for the Jags that they don't get to have their best player on the field working with other players. But in the grand scheme of things, it ain't gonna wreck their year and it's doubtful the Jaguars are too upset, especially when they make 60 large back.

However, considering that Jones-Drew is currently seeking more money, it's pretty notable that he's giving up some just to miss minicamp. If he's not messing around about showing up for the season, this game of chicken could get a lot more serious pretty quickly.

The conundrum of whether to pay MJD is an interesting one though -- he led the league in rushing in 2011, but the Jaguars still only won five games. So how much is the best running back in the league worth to a team like Jacksonville? The answer, if you want to dabble in baseball's Wins Above Replacement (WAR) statistic, is "not much."

But if the Jags have to kick off 2012 with an average running back taking carries with Blaine Gabbert, it's going to be a lot more difficult for their future franchise quarterback to grow into his role.

In other words, it's a pretty complex issue, and that's exactly why this holdout could get awkward. Ryan Wilson and I broke it down in a little more detail on the Pick-Six Podcast below.


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.
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