So we had some surprising news in the NFL recently. As many of you probably know, Jacksonville Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew is holding out from the Jaguars practices in hopes of getting a new contract. He currently has two years left on his contract, and instead of playing it out, he wants to get a new contract before his production diminishes.
Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan is not willing to negotiate a new contract with Jones-Drew, who holds last year's rushing title, so both sides are now in a standstill with neither one budging.
Well, yesterday it was reported by ESPN that Jones-Drew would be open to a trade, and that got me thinking: what teams would be interested in trading for MJD?
The only reason I say Detroit is that their top back Jahvid Best has been battling concussion issues and still hasn't been cleared from a concussion that he suffered early last season. The Lions have talented backs Mikel Leshoure and Kevin Smith, but they could decide that they want someone with Maurice Jones-Drew's ability in their backfield.
Of the teams that I'm discussing, I see the Lions as the least likely landing spot for MJD. While he's better than any of their running backs right now, I don't think he's worth what the Lions would have to give up.
The Jets could definitely use a running back. Their top running back is Shonn Greene, who isn't a bad running back, but he definitely isn't in the conversation of the top backs in the league. I would argue that he is actually in the bottom half of the league's running backs.
That gives the Jets, who are one of the few run-first teams, motivation to pursue Jones-Drew. Their passing game isn't looking too great so far, so they're going to need a good running game to carry them. If you add MJD to the Jets, who already have Tim Tebow, then they instantly become a top NFL running team. It could make sense for them.
If Jones-Drew is traded, then my first guess of where he goes is Denver. The Broncos have a good running back in Willis McGahee, but he isn't on the same level as MJD. The Broncos would benefit the most from the addition of Jones-Drew because they are a team who could possibly make it to the Super Bowl with a healthy Peyton Manning. Adding Jones-Drew makes Denver a seriously difficult team to defend, and it would help them even more in their Super Bowl chase.
So I cheated a little with this one. The Jaguars won't trade Jones-Drew to themselves. What I'm trying to say is that I think that, ultimately, MJD will stay with Jacksonville. He is likely going to be too expensive for a team to trade for him. Not only will he command a high draft pick or two, but he will also want a nice, big contract. I think that the three teams I mentioned above could possibly go for him, but I wouldn't say it is likely that they'll get him.
Maybe if this was 20 years ago and the NFL was a run-first league then Jones-Drew might draw more interest, but the current NFL is a pass-first league and running backs aren't nearly as important anymore.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you're as excited as I am about football returning.
Paul Smythe runs an NFL site called From The Pocket. Check it out here: From The Pocket
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