Should the Jaguars Trade Maurice Jones-Drew as Part of 2013 Fire Sale?

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IOctober 3, 2013

Sep 22, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (32) rushes against the Seattle Seahawks during the third quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It's a simple but necessary concept—the Jacksonville Jaguars need to shop Maurice Jones-Drew.

The team's second-round pick of the 2006 draft has been a steady producer over the last seven-plus years and proved many doubters wrong who believed he was too small to make it in the NFL

At 0-4, after an absolutely dreadful September, Jacksonville's front office needs to at least begin to make decisions that'll benefit the future of the organization. 

The forward-thinking approach started when the Jaguars traded starting left tackle Eugene Monroe to the Baltimore Ravens:

Update: Ravens are sending multiple third-day draft picks to Jacksonville in exchange for OT Eugene Monroe.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 2, 2013

Initially, the move was seen as the commencement of a fire sale in Jacksonville. Apparently, though, that wasn't exactly the case: 

Eugene Monroe wasn't even on the block I'm told. Ravens called, offer made sense. To build through the draft, Jags need picks, so open to it

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 3, 2013

While the Jaguars weren't actively shopping their premier left tackle, the fact that they accepted the trade proved they're more concerned with the long-term viability of the team than the here and now. 

Jones-Drew must be involved in the next trade for the draft pick-needy, rebuilding squad in Jacksonville. 

Let's examine all aspects of potential deal involving MJD.

 

His Trade Value 

Jones-Drew doesn't represent nearly as much trade value as he did two short years ago when he led the league in rushing. 

Dec 24, 2011; Nashville, TN, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (32) runs with the ball against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at LP Field. The Titans beat the Jaguars 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sport
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

The continual punishment running backs take coupled with the increasing popularity of the passing game in the NFL has shortened their careers and devalued the position as a whole. 

The 28-year-old has received 1,923 touches from scrimmage in his career and has recently dealt with nagging foot injuries. 

He suffered through a Lisfranc ailment that limited him to only six games in 2012 and tweaked his ankle in Week 2's loss to the Oakland Raiders

Put it all together and it's easy to see that the Jaguars wouldn't likely get early-round-pick compensation for Jones-Drew. 

In 2010, the Buffalo Bills traded Marshawn Lynch to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2011 fourth-round selection and a 2012 compensatory selection that ultimately became a fifth-rounder. 

At the time, Lynch was 24 and many believed he had an abundance of productive football in front of him. 

That's not the case for MJD.

Here's a look at what he's done since winning the 2011 rushing title:

Not exactly statistics that'll entice a trade.

Remember, though, Jones-Drew hasn't been running behind a dominant offensive line of late. 

Pro Football Focus (subscription required), graded the Jaguars as the No. 21 run-blocking offensive line in 2012. In 2013, the offensive-line's run-blocking efforts have been the second-worst in football according to PFF.  

Jacksonville should hang on to their once prized running back as long as possible in hopes that the injury bug bites a contending team's backfield. 

Out of desperation, it's not out of the question that Jones-Drew could fetch a Round 5 or Round 6 draft choice. 

 

Why It Makes Sense for Jacksonville

Acquiring a sixth-round pick for Jones-Drew would be seen as a disappointment to some. Or most. But at least it would be compensation.

Sep 8, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley before the start of the the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

That's important. 

MJD's contract is up at the end of the year, and in all likelihood, he won't be re-signed in Jacksonville. 

There's not a great chance the Jaguars would draft a future All-Pro with an extra sixth-round pick in the 2014 draft, but there's no chance they draft a future All-Pro without a selection.

Heck, at this point, a serviceable depth player would do. 

 

Logical Landing Spots 

The San Diego Chargers are surprisingly 2-2, and head coach Mike McCoy has seemingly revitalized Philip Rivers, who currently sports a robust 118.8 quarterback rating. 

Running back Ryan Mathews has stayed healthy—an encouraging development—but is only averaging 3.5 yards per carry. 

Danny Woodhead is an ideal third-down back; however, the Chargers could use another viable early-down runner to keep Mathews fresh. 

MJD could carve out a situational niche in San Diego. 

The Tennessee Titans are 3-1—something not many saw coming—but have struggled to run the football effectively.

Chris Johnson is averaging 3.3 yards per carry and backup Shonn Greene is nursing a knee injury. Although the Titans have a good chunk of money tied up in the running back position, MJD could be a between-the-tackles jolt they need to take pressure off their quarterback.