September 3, 2012
Finally, running back Maurice Jones-Drew ends his holdout and reports to the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s been 38 days since Jones-Drew decided to holdout in hopes of getting a new deal that ranks up there with the other elite running backs in the NFL. In the last few months, we’ve seen running backs Arian Foster (Houston Texans), LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles), Matt Forte (Chicago Bears), and Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens) get new deals that average out to these stars getting between $8 million and 9 million per year. Jones-Drew’s present deal averages about $4.7 million per year. Here’s the difference between Jones-Drew and those men. The four mentioned were either due or coming due for a new deal. Jones-Drew still has two years left on his present deal. The chances were Jones-Drew would have no choice but to show up, deal or no deal. Jags owner Shahid Kahn has said numerous times that Jones-Drew would not get a new deal at this time and the team, if forced to, would move on without him. Khan also said the team would not trade MJD. I can see both sides of this conflict, but this was honestly a no-win situation for MJD. While I understand what he was trying to accomplish, MJD had no leverage. Yes, MJD was the NFL’s leading rusher last season and not many has had a more productive last three seasons than he has. But individual stats don’t always add up to team wins, and the Jags were still a 5-11 team last season. Yes, I do feel MJD deserves to be paid with the other elite running backs and he has out-performed his present deal, but the fact is he still has two years left on his deal. When you combine that with the fact the team wasn’t all that successful with him, this leaves MJD with no leg to really stand on. In other words, MJD should have just reported to camp and not get involved with any of this unnecessary drama. If he was going to hold out at anytime, maybe next season’s training camp would’ve been the time to do so. At least by that time you would have another year under your belt and you can make a pitch for a new deal because now you will only have a year left on your present deal. I want to say I’m not a big fan of holdouts because you are still under contract as it is, so it’s isn’t like you’re not getting paid. Therefore, I think you should honor your contract and show up to work. With that said, I understand some players feel like holding out is the best way to force your hand and attempt to cash in. Timing is everything, and I don’t think MJD used the best timing to for this episode. Now here he is back on the team, and it might be Week 3 of the regular season before we see MJD in the starting lineup. Here’s another aspect, recent history shows star players that held out for a new deal didn’t have that great of a year following the hold out. We’ll see what happens with MJD, but it’s good to see him back with the team. I do want to see MJD get a long-term deal, but the fact is now just wasn’t the time to holdout.
By Charles Taylor