The Maurice Jones-Drew contract dispute mostly has slipped under the radar this offseason compared to guys like Drew Brees and Wes Welker. Among running backs, franchise players Ray Rice and Matt Forte have attracted more attention.
Jones-Drew's absence from his team could outlast them all. MJD's decision to skip the Jacksonville Jaguars' mandatory minicamp this week is a big statement. General manager Gene Smith made a very vocal and public hardline stance that Jones-Drew won't get a new contract. Mojo is willing to pay significant fines to make the team uncomfortable.
Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union reported Tuesday that it's possible that Jones-Drew will take his holdout into the season. We expect Brees and Rice to come to agreement fairly soon. Forte is a little trickier, but he should sign before Week 1.
Jones-Drew is quietly the player with the most potential to hurt his team. The Jaguars have made it clear publicly that they aren't willing to compromise. The Jaguars gave Jones-Drew a big five-year deal before he was a starter. That could make them "right" in this situation, but MJD has plenty of leverage because he's easily the best player on the Jaguars' offense.
"Every day you live your life with choices and decisions everything you do," coach Mike Mularkey said of MJD's absence. "When you wake up in the morning you can have a good day or a bad day. That's your choice. He's made his choice not to be here."
Unless Jones-Drew capitulates and accepts he won't get more money with two years left on his deal, this holdout threatens to last well into August and possibly September.