Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Jaguars free agents: Maurice Jones-Drew
By Michael DiRocco
Position: Running back
Summary: Jones-Drew started 15 games and led the Jacksonville Jaguars with 803 yards and five touchdowns rushing. He also caught 43 passes (third on the team) for 314 yards. He got off to a slow start, then battled through ankle, hamstring and knee issues. He had one 100-yard game in 2013 (vs. Houston) and averaged a career-low 3.4 yards per carry.
Why keep him: Watching Jones-Drew in 2013, it was obvious he has slowed somewhat and has lost a bit of the explosiveness he had when he was the NFL’s leading rusher in 2011, but he is still the best back the Jaguars have. He didn’t get a full offseason to train last year because he was coming off a Lisfranc injury, and he said being able to do that this offseason would make a big difference. He still has something left in the tank. He also has been great in the locker room with the younger players, and has helped ease the transition into the David Caldwell/Gus Bradley regime.
Why let him go: He’s turning 29 in March and has a lot of mileage on his body. Jones-Drew is a physical runner despite his 5-foot-7, 210-pound frame. He has carried the ball 1,804 times, caught 335 passes for 2,873 yards, and returned 70 kickoffs and 15 punts in eight seasons. The rest of the roster is pretty young, and it’s time for the Jaguars to do so at running back.
Best guess: He’s gone. He’s looking for at least a three-year deal, and the Jaguars are likely to offer a two-year deal with a lot of incentives. Some team will pay him close to what he wants and he’ll take the offer.