By David Levin (@davidlevin71)
I think it is safe to say the Jaguars have divorced themselves from Maurice Jones-Drew. The former Jaguar great is on the open market in free agency, looking for a new home and team to call his own. It’s hard to imagine anyone else carrying the football in Jacksonville other than No. 32. But as players get older and their contracts wear on teams and relationships change over the course of careers, this is what happens.
Many Jaguars fans ask over and over why this team is not talking with MJD or his agent abut a new contract. The answer is simple. The Jaguars and Maurice Jones-Drew are on different planets when it comes to the vision each side has as to his playing ability. Injuries over the past two seasons have proven this is not the runner who lead the NFL in yardage in 2011 and the thought of giving a slower, sometimes out of shape MJD 20-25 carries a game is not what Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley have in mind with the offense.
Jones-Drew, on the other hand, thinks he can still be “the” man in an NFL backfield and he is determined to prove it – just not in a Jaguars uniform. For everything MJD is – which has been the face of this franchise over the course of his eight years in town – he is slower, not as dependable and not worth the over $3 million per season he was getting in Jacksonville.
It is true one of Jacksonville’s most polarizing players ever to wear teal and black may get that kind of money in New York or New England or Miami, but he could just as easily display the same kind of abilities he did the past two seasons. This is not an indictment of the man or the player – just the facts.
I am sure MJD would have loved to have gotten the contract his replacement Toby Gerhart got in free agency to remain in Jacksonville. But as stated so many times before in other kinds of language, that ship sailed a long time ago. It’s time to move on – for both the Jaguars and their former workhorse.