Troubled Jaguars will face more trouble if they give Jones-Drew new deal
The dismal colony known as the New Orleans Saints organization is bounty-riddled and Pro Bowl quarterback-less and in a division that will forgive them for neither. But talent often times perseveres when effort isn’t enough, and the Saints can compensate for that with a moderate season.
But the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that’s only riddled with missing pieces of a contending puzzle, is a long way from compensating for any of their lingering issues, especially the contract dispute between management and its best player, Maurice Jones-Drew. Jones-Drew has two years remaining on a five-year, $31 million deal he signed in 2009, but he wants a contract worthy of his fellow premier backs in the league, namely alongside Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson. Jones-Drew led the league in rushing last year (1,606 yards) and could do so again this year with the countless carries he faces behind project quarterback Blaine Gabbert and a receiving lineup whose projected top wideout is mired in a DUI arrest. Jaguars GM Gene Smith has refused to address giving Jones-Drew a bigger contract, standing pat with the usual fact that a player must honor the years of a contract he agreed to.
Whilst running backs pose the shortest career span in professional football, with an even shorter term of productivity, I unfortunately must take Smith’s side on this one, while exposing Smith’s bad side as well. The Jaguars are a mess at this point with enough stink offensively to be in line to get the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft (and possibly Gabbert’s replacement in USC quarterback Matt Barkley). Gabbert was woeful in his rookie campaign, taking 40 sacks with many of them due to indecision on his throws. His second year is the judgment season, so the jury is still out on his play. The Jaguars’ receivers, with top pick, yet unsigned Justin Blackmon, remains a makeshift group that could be productive or destructive, depending on if Blackmon stays out of trouble and goes beyond what management expected of him.
Yes, the defense is improving vastly (sixth in the league last season), but not enough to carry an offense that barely averaged just over two touchdowns a game last season, with little potential to increase that average. With the biggest free-agent signing being wide receiver Laurent Robinson from the Dallas Cowboys, the Jaguars must keep thinking long-term for investing on more key players to improve the team instead of piling money on one who can be the best on the worst lineup for a few more years.
Jones-Drew is 27 years old, in his prime and without many more years left to flourish. Most running backs are deemed old and incapable of carrying a load by 30 years old. At Jones-Drew’s age, the years are precious and the most pressuring. The punishment running backs take from game-to-game keeps a down-the-road mindset flowing in their minds, just as Jones-Drew is doing. He has every right to do so and deserves a contract that rivals Johnson or Peterson, but he is demanding such from a team that isn’t simply missing him.
The Jags are missing a consistent offensive line, a sigh of relief on a dependable quarterback and a receiver that can impact the team positively on and off the field. Management knows that the work is not yet finished on this product. Jones-Drew will have to adjust to it or go somewhere that will adjust to him. At this point in his career, he could use a team that doesn’t wander in mediocrity and is intent on a championship run. But he signed to stay with this team, unaware that David Garrard was going to be shown the door after an 8-8 season that nearly led to an AFC South division title. Jones-Drew has to endure the consequences and lack of quality signings, but suffer more under management’s commitment to rebuilding from under the ground up.
If the dynamic back gets his deal, he will stay a big back in a small talent pool, with smaller cap room, a continuing small fan base and little recruiting power. But playing to the team’s strengths could lead to the best team results, but at what costs for Jones-Drew? He has to think of his future, but it’s understandable why the team is thinking of its own with its treatment of his contract needs.
“I would like to play my whole career here. That’s a given,” Gibson told HOOPSWORLD at the start of training camp. “This is a great city, great organization, great people, and it would be a dream come true (to stay).”hgjfyu75674
He knew they could win, down 0-2 in a best-of-seven series to a team with the best record in the West? A team that had won their previous 20 games including sweeps in the first two rounds of the playoffs?
The Rockets have been looking for a way to move Martin, one of the last remnants of the Rick Adelman era in Houston, and the Thunder were looking to avoid the maximum contract discussion that Harden’s camp was trying to have. This deal accomplishes both things, and also gives the Thunder depth and draft picks in the deal.