Jacksonville Jaguars: 5 Players Most Affected by MJD's Holdout
Oops, they did it again! Well, not the Jaguars specifically. More like Maurice Jones-Drew and the time he is spending on the West coast while his teammates are sweating together as a unit in the hot Florida sun.
Jones-Drew did not report to training camp and has asked for a new contract with his old one still having two years remaining on a $31 million deal.
Such is the life of a player who is most important piece to the Jaguars' offense. And everyone knows it.
While Jones-Drew takes a hard-line stance by drawing a line in the sand, management has stated this week it will not budge from its belief that Jones-Drew should play out the remainder of his contract and negotiate a new deal at a later date.
And with that the soap opera continues. These are the days of the Jaguars' lives.
The holdout by the NFL's leading rusher does not only hurt him (he could be fined up to $60,000 for missing these mandatory practices), but it also hurts a young team that is trying to improve and does not have its proven leader on the practice field with them.
The Jaguars do not need this to become more of a spectacle than they already are.
Here are the five players who are affected or could be most affected if the holdout lingers toward the start of and possibly into the regular season.
In the wake of Blackmon's DUI arrest, maybe the rookie should be thanking MJD for holding out.
While that is not a funny way to look at things, it speaks volumes about how badly the Jags need MJD in camp. The focus of the DUI arrest has been put off to the side for the time being in the eyes of the media. For a rookie, that is a blessing in disguise.
But what it does do is make the passing game that much more important with Jones-Drew there. That means Blackmon will have to play harder and make quicker decisions in the passing game and more importantly, act like a model citizen.
With MJD out of the state of Florida, Jennings is now the lead back for the team.
Last season, Jennings spent the year on injured reserve when it was believed he would be the breather MJD needed to stay fresh. None of the backups appeared capable of doing that, but a lot of that had to do with MJD carrying the ball over 300 times.
Jennings was supposed to play MJD's role in the offense when Fred Taylor was the lead back. Jones-Drew would be the change of pace runner at that time. Jennings would have been the bigger, stronger back coming in to spell MJD.
Jennings has had his moments since coming to the NFL from Liberty, including a 100+ yard performance against the Raiders in 2010.
He could benefit more than any other Jaguars player from the holdout.
I know you have to ask yourself how in the world does Jones-Drew help or hurt Josh Scobee. That's an easy one to answer.
Jones-Drew is holding out for a new deal where he is not paid like one of the top runners in the league. He's in the top 10, but not elite.
Scobee was the second-best weapon on the team last year and you won't find many kickers who are as important to their team as he is to Jacksonville. But the team franchised him at the start of free agency and he has yet to sign his tender offer.
He has stated numerous times he was not happy with the franchise tag and wanted to work out a long-term deal with the team.
But if the Jaguars are taking a hard stance with the team's most important weapon, how will that play into their negotiations with the team's second most important weapon?
Marcedes Lewis has everything and nothing to do with MJD staying in California.
Here's the take on this one.
Last season, Lewis signed a new deal in the offseason while holding out before coming to camp. The deal called for five years and $35 million. Of that, $17 million was guaranteed. All the former college teammate of Jones-Drew did was have a disastrous season.
Maybe that made the Jaguars think twice about a new deal for Jones-Drew. It's highly unlikely, but when you reward a player like Lewis for a Pro Bowl season the year before and he does not go out and deliver, it has to make you wonder.
Lewis is not a MJD-type player but the money he is pocketing should be in the running back's pocket, not his.
Remember also, that Chris Johnson had money tacked on to his current contract with the Titans and he had an awful season as well after holding out.
You cannot have your starting quarterback learn a new system without all the horses in the stable.
Jones-Drew is the most important horse on the field.
Gabbert will be learning his second offense in as many years and needs all the help the team and coaching staff can give him.
To say Gabbert had a dismal rookie season may be an understatement. No one relied more on the running game from behind center than Gabbert did last season as a rookie.
Many times, MJD bailed the rookie out. Both should be learning this system together. Instead, it looks like Gabbert has been left to twist in the wind by himself.
It's a good thing the team found him some more weapons through the draft and free agency. If MJD holds out for an extended period of time, it could really affect his quarterback.