Jacksonville has had an exciting first preseason with new owner Shad Khan with Gabbert and Blackmon looking nice in preseason, the team announcing four games in London, and a last-second TD pass by UFL refugee Jordan Palmer to WR Kevin Elliot gave them the win over New Orleans with :13 left, propelling the Jaguars to 2-0 in meaningless games. However, especially if RB Rashad Jennings has a good outing in his dress-rehearsal action Thursday night at 7:30 ET vs. the Ravens, things could be getting very interesting.
Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew’s agent Adisa Bakari has spoken out on behalf of his client, issuing the following statement in regards to Jaguars owner Shad Khan dismissing Jones-Drew’s importance and revealing their closed-doors meeting:
“Obviously, he’s not happy that what started as a very cordial and private conversation is now public and contentious. Maurice wants to play for an organization that wants him and for an owner who respects him and values what he brings to a team – on the field, in the locker room and in the community.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting Jones-Drew is open to a trade.
There are 3 options.
Option 1: Broker a new deal. I think this is, by far, the worst option so long as the Jaguars aren’t a postseason-caliber team this year. I haven’t seen them play yet, but – on paper – they appear to be rebuilding a little. If – with MJD -they can overtake the Texans for the AFC South or even make enough plays to get a Wild Card spot, then maybe Khan should offer more money. Either way, running backs rarely last in the NFL, and Khan has been steadfast in not wanting to offer him a new deal.
Option 2: Trade him. This also is not the best option, in my opinion, because current #1 RB Rashad Jennings is an unknown quantity at this point. He possesses the frame and physicality to run between the tackles, and the speed and receiving ability to make big plays all over the field. However, he missed all of last season with injury and has never had the task of being a #1. Jennings has run 12 times for 56 yards vs. the Giants and 11 times for 62 vs. the Saints. Multiple reports have surfaced that the Jaguars are not open to this. I believe the reports, but there’s always a chance they are trying to drive up his value. The possible trade destinations for MJD, if the Jaguars changed their minds:
The Bengals already signed BenJarvus Green-Ellis in free agency, and have stacked the team with receiving weapons to be an up-tempo, pass-first offense.
The Packers just signed former Bengal RB Cedric Benson, but – given how incredible this offense could be – I like this destination best. The Packers could offer running backs James Starks and/or Alex Green in the trade.
The Lions were unable to ink DE Cliff Avril to a long-term deal, yet I’m pretty sure they are getting tired of instability at the RB position.
The Steelers are just now reaching the end of the Mike Wallace holdout, apparently. Given Jones-Drew’s toughness (tallied a league-high 343 carries despite teams stacking the box), I’m sure he would endear himself to Steelers fans. Unless they pull off a Wallace-for-MJD deal, I don’t see this happening.
Option 3: Let him keep holding out. I like this option best, because Jones-Drew has to get on the field at some point this season to get his money. You ride this out, send a message to the other players that they need to show up, and count on your depth to get you through until MJD shows up.
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