JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--The sun didn't even have the chance to set on the Jaguars big London announcement when word came out that Maurice Jones-Drew is open to a trade. It seems as if the NFL's leading rusher is taking umbrage, (SAT word meaning he ain't happy) with Shad Khan's comments that Mojo better hurry up and get into the Jags playbook because the train is leaving the station. Jones-Drew is a master at getting off the initial hit at the line, but this is a follow up to Mr. Khan's earlier assertion that on a scale of one to ten, Jones-Drew's absence isn't moving the needle.
What does it all mean for the future? Jones-Drew has not seen a page of Mike Mularkey's new playbook which by looking at the opening drives of the first two preseason games appears to be pretty good. But how great could it be with Mojo in the huddle? The guy is one of the most complete players in the NFL. A few years back Kennedy Pola, then a running backs coach, told me to watch how he plays the game. Watch how he picks up blitzes. Watch how he makes the tackle on a turnover. The next week the Jags were in San Diego and turned it over six or seven times. I remember seeing a number 32 come flying into my field of vision to make a tackle on an interception. Those memories are fading now when you think, yes Maurice Jones-Drew led the NFL in rushing but the team won five games.
Here's the deal. Maurice has two years left on a contract that paid him very well in the early years. Gene Smith paid him on what he believed he could become. He became the guy the Jags thought he could be. Jones-Drew can continue his holdout but he is only hurting himself. He needs to start playing before week 11 to get credit for this year. If that doesn't happen he won't be able to play for anybody this year and his deal jumps over to 2013 meaning he is signed for two more years. The Jags could play mean and franchise him for a third year.
The best thing he could have done is to come in and be a leader on a team who seems on the rise. Play like he has in the past, contribute to a turn around and the new deal is there with one year left on his contract. Stay tuned.