The Case Against a New Contract for MJD

As the contract stalemate between Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jacksonville Jaguars continues, NFL.com’s Albert Breer spoke with a few anonymous NFL front office members who shared their thoughts on the situation.  History has not been kind to players who engage in lengthy holdouts, and that may be something the Jaguars brass may want to keep in mind before they back the Brinks truck up into his front door.From NFL.com:

One thing all these guys agree on is that, even with the considerable mileage Jones-Drew has accumulated, he shows every sign of being able to hold up within the three-year time frame cited by the GM above. And the Jaguars would have to believe that to acquiesce in any way — because there’s every reason to believe that Jones-Drew is in for a subpar 2012, having already missed all of the spring and training camp.

Last year, Chris Johnson reached a new deal with theTennessee Titans on Sept. 1, ending a holdout that spanned the entire offseason. He posted career lows in total yards, yards per carry and touchdowns, despite playing in all 16 games.

Five years ago, Larry Johnson staged a similar holdout, finally reaching a deal near the end of August. He was coming off consecutive 1,700-yard seasons. That year, 2007, he missed eight games, rushed for just 559 yards and posted a per-carry average nearly a yard less than his previous career low.

“I’d look at him being the same guy over the next three years, and then decline, but I think this year is gonna be a wash,” said one AFC personnel director. “Running backs do not come back after a holdout with the same effectiveness. You need the timing with the O-line, especially with a new offense in there. You need to take hits. … He’s gonna limp into this year.”

This AFC personnel director may be right on the money.  MJD has missed all offseason workouts plus the installation of an entirely new offense with the Jaguars making coaching changes earlier this year.  Chances are, he’ll be forced into an uphill battle to match last year’s statistical output (1,600+ rushing yards, 11 total TDs) whenever he does link back up with the team.  The past cases of Chris and Larry Johnson may serve as obstacles for things working out in MJD’s favor.  Both sides seem dug in for a prolonged battle.  This one may not work itself out until well into September.

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