The Jaguars are a team that’s trying to turn a corner with a new owner, a young quarterback who’s still sort of new, and a rookie wide receiver whose combination of bulk and speed would be exciting and imposing if he wasn’t such a complete moron away from the field.
So there’s some promise percolating somewhere, even if it’ll eventually be lost among a sea of ugly and empty teal seats in September. After Justin Blackmon’s DUI that’s partly contributed to his long wait for a contract, this isn’t a franchise that needs more bad news as it attempts to add building blocks to the feeble ones already in place.
But there’s a storm on the horizon. No, not the kind that just hit Gotham, and sadly, it won’t end with Anne Hathaway in a cat suit, and Bane lining up on Jacksonville’s defensive line. This one involves Maurice Jones-Drew, and it’s been forecasted for quite some time.
After leading the NFL in rushing yards last year with 1,606 (it wasn’t even close either, as Ray Rice finished second with 1,364), Jones-Drew wants, and thinks he needs and deserves a new contract. He’s 27 years old, and he’s under contract for two more years, a contract that will pay him $9.4 million.
The problem? He wants a contract because he’s not getting younger, and knows that when he’s 29, the Jags’ willingness to pay him will be pretty much non-existent. But he’s already old-ish by running back standards, and since the Jaguars know the frailty of the position, and that time can’t be reversed and he’s committed to a contract for two more years, their motivation to pay him is already non-existent.
Financially, a restructured deal makes little sense for the Jaguars, but it makes a lot of sense for Jones-Drew. Thus the impasse as the eternal plight of the running back continues, as does the search for the elusive creature that is monetary security in the NFL.
Heels are several inches deep into imaginary soil on both sides, and yesterday head coach Mike Mularkey said he has no idea if MJD will report on time when the Jaguars begin training camp Thursday.
From the Florida Times-Union:
Mularkey said he hasn’t been in contact with Jones-Drew, who skipped the entire off season program because he wants a new contract.
“Every player had to sign that they got the information in regards to training camp. Somebody signed at the (Jones-Drew) household we sent it to. Everybody is aware of when it starts, when they have to be here.’’ Mularkey said.
Even if he’s not saying it, Mularkey knows how training camp will start, but he doesn’t know how it’ll end.
It’ll start without Jones-Drew present as the only option available to him for a leverage play is exercised. That will likely come to its painful conclusion a few weeks later as it becomes clear that Jaguars GM Gene Smith still isn’t budging, and a running back sitting out a significant portion of a season when he’s well on the wrong side of 25 and has had +300 carries during two of the past three years (the exception was 299 carries in 2010) is never a wise career move. He’ll cave, because he’ll have to with his hand firmly forced.
But right now the mere possibility of beginning a season without Jones-Drew is downright frightening for a team with a quarterback who still seems petrified in the pocket.
And now the links part of the links post…
- Let’s start with playing some catch up on a few rookie deals from late last night that you may have missed, but probably didn’t. First, the Cowboys signed Morris Claiborne to a four-year deal worth $16.4 million that doesn’t have any offset language, and is therefore fully guaranteed. [Cowboys.com]
- With another top 10 pick finally paid, we turn our attention to uber running back and Browns franchise saver Trent Richardson, who also signed a four-year deal with no offset language. Richardson’s fully guaranteed contract is worth $20.5 million, and it includes a $13.5 million signing bonus. [Cleveland Plain-Dealer]
- Locking up their other first rounder who’s tasked with halting the production of tears at the factory of sadness is now Cleveland’s next priority. Negotiations with Brandon Weeden’s representatives reportedly lasted deep into the night and required several Red Bulls. They’re oh so close, and a four-year deal worth an estimated $8.1 million will likely be completed today. [Adam Schefter]
- It’s Tuesday morning, and training camp start dates are mostly scattered between Thursday and Sunday. That leaves just a few more days for the remaining six first-round picks to stop screwing around and sign a contract that was mostly structured the moment their name was called in April. Wasn’t this supposed to be easier with the rookie wage scale? [Mocking the Draft]
- We’re more than halfway through the year 2012, so gadgets and wacky gizmos with their beeping antennas shouldn’t be intimidating or distracting. They should simply be a part of life that makes every day tasks–at work and at home–much easier. Yet the Bucs still don’t know how to charge their iPads that are used as playbooks. They’re living in 1997, a far away time when Tampa still didn’t have a kickoff return for a touchdown. [Shutdown Corner]
- Want a way to not see your loved ones for several days? Predict every game of the 2012 season. Every game. [Pete Prisco]
- Michael Vick enjoys being an idol, and he thinks that other young quarterbacks who play the position exactly like him grew up wanting to be Michael Vick. [D.C. Sport Bog]