Maurice Jones-Drew is without a doubt one of the NFL's best running backs, and he wants a new deal. But Jacksonville Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith has said the team will not meet Jones-Drew's contract demands.
With no other options available, the 27-year-old's best bet is to hold out until he gets the deal he wants.
Jones-Drew had a career-high year in 2011. He rushed for 1,606 yards and eight touchdowns on 343 carries (4.7 yards per carry). He added 43 receptions for 374 yards and three touchdowns. The UCLA product did all of that despite being a part of the NFL's worst offense.
The diminutive running back signed a five-year, $30.95 million contract back in 2009, and has been one of the NFL's most productive backs since then. He is owed $9.4 million over the next two years, and obviously that's far below market value for his production.
Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union reports that Jones-Drew is planning to miss minicamp, and there is a chance he takes his holdout into the season. At this point I agree with his stance.
Given how bad quarterback Blaine Gabbert was last season, Jacksonville's entire offense is built around Jones-Drew. The team is putting a ton of miles on his legs by relying on him so much. That could shorten his career, and he must get paid while he still can.
Smith and the Jaguars want to get away with paying as little as they can for one of the NFL's best players. That shouldn't fly.
I don't think anyone believes that Jones-Drew is paid anywhere near what he's worth. He's right in this situation, and the Jaguars should come to the table and give him a contract extension that matches his value.
Jones-Drew should hold out until the Jaguars bend and finally pay him what he's worth.
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