Maurice Jones-Drew: Why This Could Turn out Bad for the Jaguars' Star Player
Whenever a star player says he wants more money and then holds out like a little child crying for more milk, it can only mean bad things in the future.
Maybe Maurice Jones-Drew should rethink his stance on wanting a new contract with two years remaining on the current deal he has with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Missed time with the team cannot be a good thing for the player or a franchise that has tried to turn the corner in a new direction for 2012.
So, if you are listening, MJD, get back to Jacksonville, put the selfish feelings aside for the moment and play this year and then deal with wanting new money.
According to bigcatcountry.com, the Jaguars management is standing pat in stating it will not give MJD the money the new contract he is asking for despite leading the NFL in rushing last season with 1,606 yards. Jones-Drew also accounted for almost 50 percent of the team’s total offense last year and was the team’s second leading receiver.
All of that is well and good and those are some pretty nice arguments to make, but banking on Jones-Drew duplicating those numbers this season or in years forward is not something the team appears to be doing. There are more weapons on offense this season and new head coach Mike Mularkey has brought his offensive game plan from Atlanta and institute it here in Florida.
It did some good things for players like Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Michael Turner.
Right now, MJD is the ninth-highest paid running back in the league with the likes of Chris Johnson, Ray Rice and Arian Foster making or set to make more than him, it could be argued that he is not the best back in his own division.
Jones-Drew has two years left on a five-year, $31 million contract he signed in 2009. He is scheduled to make $4.45 million this year and $4.95 million in 2013, this according to the Florida Times-Union.
Mularkey said on Tuesday in an article written by Tania Ganguli in the Florida Times-Union, "I’d like to talk about the guys that have made a choice to (be here). They all have that choice. I used to let it get to me a lot worse than it does now, but it’s not getting to me. Because there is so much good going on around here."
The team has new receivers in Laurent Robinson, Lee Evans and rookie Justin Blackmon and the addition of rookie defensive end Andre Branch has turned heads. This is Mularkey's second stint as head coach, having spent time in Buffalo as the head man.
He has also been offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh and Atlanta.
Jacksonville does not need more negative publicity for its team.
Rookie Justin Blackmon was charged with DUI and awaits a court date. The team is trying to recover from a 5-11 season and is also working to improve an offense that was last in the NFL despite the efforts of Jones-Drew.
“He has expressed that he would like to renegotiate and we have expressed, again, that we feel he has a contract with two years left and we expect him to fulfill those obligations," team general manager, Gene Smith said on Monday.
Jones-Drew being absent only hurts the team and its chemistry. If he holds out and it becomes a distraction, this not only hurts his playing time, but it also hurts the players on offense who need to work and mesh with him as the new game plan progresses.
It also means if he decides to hold out or wait until after the season to seek more riches, the two sides could reach an crossroads that could also lead to Jones-Drew being franchised in two years or him being allowed to test the free agent market, which could lead to him leaving the only team he has played for.
Both options would not be good for either side.
So while the rest of the team is in camp preparing for the season, the Jaguars management is digging in its heels and hoping the star of the team will realize he is needed without having to open the checkbook to prove it to him.
And as the heat continues to build in Florida, it would appear things will get much hotter at EverBank Field if this is not resolved soon.
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