Maurice Jones-Drew isn't taking part in OTAs for the Jacksonville Jaguars, which can't be considered much of a surprise.
The running back hasn't participated in the voluntary workouts since his rookie season in 2006, though CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco reported Tuesday that Jones-Drew's absence can also be explained by his current contract situation.
The NFL rushing champion in 2011, Jones-Drew has two years and $9.5 million remaining on the five-year, $31.35 million deal he signed in 2009. At 27, the time is now to get that last payday before he nears 30, a dreaded age for running backs looking to make money.
The Jaguars are unlikely to work with Jones-Drew on this. For one, they're likely thrilled with the fact than an All-Pro is locked into an extremely team-friendly deal. And then there's the issue of durability. Team sources told CBSSports.com they feel Jones-Drew isn't nearly as explosive as he used to be.
Again, this is the reigning rushing champion we're talking about, a man who piled up 1,606 yards on the ground for the worst passing team in football last season. But it also took him a whopping 343 carries to get there, and Jones-Drew has a lot of football mileage on his 5-foot-7, 208-pound frame.
Prisco studied tape and agreed with the Jaguars sources, writing that "I think he left yards on the field. He turned many 3-yard gains into 7-yard gains, but also turned potential 20-yard gains into 7-yard gains."
If team brass has any inkling a decline is on the way, the Jags are better off letting the contract play out and re-evaluating matters in 2014. Jones-Drew might call this unfair, but he picked the wrong era to be a star running back in the NFL.