The NFL's reigning rushing champion, Maurice Jones-Drew, ended his holdout and reported to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday without a new contract, NFL.com and NFL Network's Albert Breer reports.
Jones-Drew forfeited a $50,000 workout bonus and has more than $1.2 million in potential fines for missing mandatory minicamp in June and all of training camp, but coach Mike Mularkey has not indicated if any of those would be forgiven. Jones-Drew's willingness to potentially forgo all that money showed his displeasure with the two years and up to $9.65 million that remain on his five-year contract.
As a vested veteran, Jones-Drew's $4.45 million base salary in 2012 would become fully guaranteed if he's on the 53-man roster in Week 1, and the weekly game checks worth $261,765 would have been difficult for Jones-Drew to pass up, making it unlikely the three-time Pro Bowl running back would have missed any regular-season games.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan extended an olive branch of sorts to Jones-Drew, two weeks after publicly calling out the running back over his demands.
"The Jaguars are a better football team today than we were yesterday, and now our entire franchise can move forward together and as one," Khan said in a statement. "Nothing more needs to be said."
But even with Jones-Drew back in the fold, he might not be in the lineup for the Sept. 9 season opener against the Minnesota Vikings. The Jaguars placed Jones-Drew on the Reserve/Did Not Report list, so they will receive a roster exemption now that he has reported, making him eligible for Week 1.
While Jones-Drew likely will show up in good shape, he's not in football shape, having missed all of the Jaguars' offseason workouts, training camp and the preseason. That was an issue Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnsonlamented after 2011, his least-productive season in the NFL, which began by him skipping training camp in protest over his contract.
Unlike Jones-Drew, Johnson's return to the Titans coincided with a new four-year, $53.975 million contract extension that included $30 million in guaranteed money. Jones-Drew will show up in Jacksonville on the same contract that Breer reports will not be adjusted. If Jones-Drew's production or health falters, this could be his final season in Jacksonville.