- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Eighty-seven running backs in NFL history have gained at least 5,000 ground yards and at least 7,500 yards from scrimmage.
Chase Stuart at the Football Perspective blog crunched the numbers to come up with a weighted average winning percentage, and Mike Sando over at NFC West headquarters wrote about how Steven Jackson of the Rams has the worst at .292.
The next-worst active back?
Maurice Jones-Drew at .444, which is 76th overall.
Though he’d dispute it, I love Jones-Drew and think he’s an incredibly valuable back. But the fact of the matter is, the 2011 Jaguars could have lost 11 games without him. Even a great running back who has carried an offense, as Jones-Drew has been doing for the Jaguars, can’t carry a team. Once upon a time he could. Today’s league doesn’t allow for it.
It’s a passing game. You have to be able to throw it and to stop people from throwing it. And if you can’t do both of those things, or at least one of those things really well, it’ll be very difficult to produce results and playoff runs.
These are some of the realities the Jaguars are facing as Jones-Drew stays away from the team with two years remaining on his current deal, wanting to tear it up and get another one.
He’s the face of the franchise and in many ways he’s the team’s best player. He’s rugged and determined. He plays hard. He has leadership qualities. He sets a standard for taking care of your job.
And there is great value in all of that, and in leading the league in rushing as he did last season.
But on the financial scales, it’s not worth as much as it has been in the past and it’s not worth as much as Chris Johnson got. It might be worth what Jones-Drew wants, though we don’t know that number. But in my eyes, he’s not so underpaid that he should be offended.
Does he need more help? Sure. And they’ve worked to get it for him.
Measure his workload against the Jaguars' record, and you get .444. There are a lot of paths you can take to get to .444. There are proven paths you can take to be better than that which don't include a high-priced running back, too.