Fred Taylor Thinks MJD Will Hold Out
Jones-Drew is in search of a new contract, though his current contract still has two years remaining. His current deal still has $9.4 million dollars left to be had, including $4.45 million in 2012 and $4.95 million in 2013.
At the age of 27, Jones-Drew knows he doesn't have much of his prime left. Once his current contract is up, no team is going to want to sign him to a huge deal at the age of 29. After watching many his fellow NFL runners sign off on big money deals this offseason, Jones-Drew wants to get his while he still can.
Several running backs have gotten their big paydays recently. Ray Rice signed a 5 year $40 million dollar deal with the Ravens. The Eagles locked up LeSean McCoy to the tune of 5 years and $45 million. The Bears ended their drama with Matt Forte with a 4 year $32 million contract. After winning the rushing title last year, MJD must be wondering where his big contract is.
Well, his big contract came back in 2009. Jones-Drew signed a 5 year $31 million dollar contract after a decent season in which he totaled 842 yards (51.5 per game) on 4.2 yards per carry. He went on to average 1440 yards per season on 4.5 yards per carry over the first three years of his contract, so now he feels that he's being underpaid.
Another contract given to a similar caliber player around that time was that which was given to the Atlanta Falcons' Michael Turner. Turner's numbers weren't great before signing with the Falcons, as he had been backing up an in-prime LaDainian Tomlinson, but the Falcons knew what they were paying for, as Turner had averaged 5.5 yards per carry on his 228 career attempts. The deal Turner received was for $34.5 million over 6 years, a slightly worse deal than Jones-Drew's.
However, despite averaging 1320 yards per season (including 2009, during which he was injured), leading the league in rushing attempts twice, and scoring double digit touchdowns every year since signing his contract, Turner has not asked for any sort of new deal. Why? Because he's a loyal person.
A young NFL player can do one of two things when seeking a contract. He can sign a short-term deal that will allow him to seek a big payday when his contract is up if he has panned out as a good player (high-risk), or he can take a long-term deal and lock himself into a contract that will give him steady money for a longer time, but never the big bucks should he become a star (low-risk). By taking the low-risk contract, then holding out for more money reaching stardom, he is basically cheating the system, attempting to receive the advantages of both the high-risk and low-risk contracts.
In addition, when a player holds out, he has already been paid the guaranteed money that the team gives out assuming the player will finish his contract ($17.5 million guaranteed in Jones-Drew's case).