Despite report, Jaguars have no plans to trade RB Maurice Jones-Drew
Jags owner Shad Khan's background might be in automobile parts manufacturing, but he already seems quite comfortable when it comes to dealing with his football-playing employees. RB Maurice Jones-Drew wants a new deal and he's currently holding out. Khan, meanwhile, hasn't blinked and the team has no plans to trade MJD.
|MJD might be open to being traded but it's not up to him. (Getty Images)|
New Jaguars owner Shad Khan's background might be in automobile parts manufacturing, but he already seems quite comfortable when it comes to dealing with his football-playing employees. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jags' only offensive weapon last season (as evidenced by his league rushing title), has made it clear since the spring that he wants a new deal. He's currently a holdout, having missed minicamps, OTAs, and now training camp and two preseason games.
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Meanwhile, Khan hasn't blinked. Sources tell CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman that the Jaguars aren't looking to trade MJD right now despite an ESPN report that the running back is open to the idea following recent comments from the owner.
On Tuesday, during a press conference to announce that the Jags plan to play four games in London from 2013-2016, Khan offered this advice to Jones-Drew (via the Florida Times-Union's Gene Frenette): "Train is leaving the station. Run, get on it."
And over the weekend, Khan said of the team's absentee running back: "He's not here, and that's his decision. Believe me, it's not a great concern. 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."
Khan's had to deal with labor strife in his previous line of work and those experiences prompted him to suggest that MJD's situation "doesn't even move the needle." Any leverage Jones-Drew may have thought he had went out the window with those remarks.
It's also worth pointing out that Jones-Drew signed a five-year, $31 million contract (including $17.5 million in guarantees) in 2009. Last month, former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor was of the opinion that MJD wasn't in any hurry to show up.
"I think (Jones-Drew) will continue to hold out because there were some things that were miscommunicated by both sides," Taylor said at the time. "Pride gets involved. Someone has to give. ... I don't think Maurice will be the first one to show his hand. Possibility it'll go into training camp or even further."
And further it has gone. Jones-Drew's agent told the Associated Press that the running back wasn't super-pumped about Khan's "Train is leaving the station" comments.
"Maurice wants to play for an organization that wants him and for an owner who respects him and values what he brings to a team -- on the field, in the locker room and in the community," Adisa Bakari said. "Obviously, (MJD's) not happy that what started as a very cordial and private conversation is now public and contentious."
And even if MJD wants out of Jacksonville, here's the problem: He's 27, entering his seventh season, and he has 1,484 career carries. In running back years, that works out to about 38. Put differently: there isn't an NFL team willing to make that trade and then meet his contract demands when other backs with comparable skills can be had for a fraction of the cost.
It's just the nature of the NFL, which has evolved into a passing league built around franchise quarterbacks. Running backs have a role in today's offense but there's no correlation between a top-flight runner and playoff success. Zilch. And isn't that the point?
We'll revisit something CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco said last month...
Maurice Jones-Drew can hold out all he wants. From what I've been told, there is no consideration at all on giving him a new deal.— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) July 19, 2012
...And then point out that Jones-Drew has to show up at some point. If he doesn't report by the Tuesday after Week 10 he can't play anywhere in 2012. Not only that, he won't get credit for an accrued season, which means that he'll still have two years remaining on the contract that he so desperately wants to renegotiate.
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