Jaguars will let MJD hit the open market
General 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.