Players show up before the big paychecks arrive. We go through this every year, and yet it's always treated like a surprise when a long contract dispute ends just before the regular season.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network and NFL.com reports that running back Rashad Jennings will start Week 1 of the season. This is practical -- Jones-Drew probably isn't ready -- and it sends a message that Jennings' great work in the preseason will not be forgotten. Don't be surprised if Jennings sharply cuts into Jones-Drew's carries this year.
Jones-Drew didn't get any extra money out of the holdout. Time will tell if missing camp hurts his effectiveness like it did for Chris Johnson last year or Larry Johnson in 2007. Those guys signed big new deals at the end of the holdout rainbow; Jones-Drew will wait to find out if he loses the money Jacksonville has the right to take from him through fines.
This will be trumpeted as a victory for the Jaguars, but it wasn't a difficult decision. Jones-Drew had two years left on a generous five-year deal. Paying aging running backs is foolish; paying an aging running back with two years left on his contract would have been insane.
The Jaguars can only say they stood on some principled, disciplined ground if they actually go through with fining Jones-Drew, which is very rare in these cases.
This turned out to be a waste of time for Jones-Drew and his agent. It was an unnecessary distraction for the Jaguars and won't help them compete in 2012. We wasted far too much time writing and talking about it.
The only saving grace here is that the holdout is over. It happened just before the real money was due, just like always.