Jaguars will let Maurice Jones-Drew test free agency

Jaguars will let MJD hit the open market

1/31/14 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Maurice Jones-Drew has done a lot of good for the Jacksonville Jaguars franchise. The 28-year-old running back has spent eight years in Jacksonville since being drafted in the second round back in 2006, and he has made three Pro Bowls while earning one first-team All-Pro selection and a rushing title. The Jaguars have been a top-3 rushing team three times during MJD's eight years with the team, though they have only made the playoffs once during his tenure. Despite what Jones-Drew has brought to Jacksonville, it appears that the team is ready to move on from their long-time ball carrier.

Blog Photo - Jaguars will let Maurice Jones-Drew test free agencyGeneral manager Dave Caldwell announced Friday that the team will let Jones-Drew hit unrestricted free agency this offseason, and owner Shahid Khan has since backed Caldwell's decision. Generally, when a team wants a player back, they try to negotiate with that player before other teams get a crack at him. In Jones-Drew's situation, however, the Jaguars are content in letting other teams make him offers on the open market.

The decision makes sense, as Jones-Drew has not been productive since his career-best 2011 campaign, during which he racked up 386 touches (don't even get me started on why that many touches is bad for a running back). Jones-Drew's 2012 was ravaged by injuries, and he averaged just 3.4 yards per carry in 2013. Granted, the Jaguars probably have the worst group of run blockers in the NFL, but MJD simply did not display the explosiveness that brought him so much success before hurting his foot in 2012.

The Jaguars are in full-on rebuild mode this offseason, so bringing back a running back who will be 29 years old before the start of next season does not seem to make much sense. Jones-Drew appears destined to find a new home this offseason. While the bounce in his step is not what it used to be, MJD could probably still produce behind a decent offensive line. In addition, he has a lot to offer in pass protection, so he could be a target for pass-happy teams.

While he may not be what he was from 2006-11, I would not yet call Jones-Drew "washed up." Unlike recently shunned players such as Michael Turner, I think Jones-Drew will have a job in 2014, and a change of scenery (essentially a change of who his blockers are) could do wonders for him. I believe that someone will offer Jones-Drew a significant role for next season, but it doesn't look like it will be the Jaguars.
Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview

2/28/14   |   chevleclair   |   374 respect

I actually kind of expected this last year from the perennially struggling Jaguars. The biggest difference between this year and last would have been to at the very least fish for a trade for him and try to net some draft picks for him. While he wouldn't get Herschel Walker type attention, I believe he would have scored Jax a decent set of 2nd and or 3rd round draft picks, which could have been parlayed into trades for upgrades at other positions such as WR and OL. Right now, MJD is going to watch his stock fall and have to take a massive pay cut in a high risk position, and the Jags get nothing for him.