Jags don’t plan to restructure deal with MJD
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars have no plans to renegotiate running back Maurice Jones-Drew’s current contract.
General manager Gene Smith confirmed Monday that Jones-Drew wants a new deal, but made it clear it’s not going to happen.
“Obviously, he has expressed that he would like to renegotiate and we have expressed again that we feel he has a contract with two years left that we expect him to fulfill those obligations,” Smith said.
Jones-Drew, who led the NFL in rushing last season with 1,606 yards, has two years remaining on a five-year deal worth $31 million that he signed in 2009. He is scheduled to make $4.45 million this season and $4.95 million in 2013.
That’s considerably less than other top tailbacks. Tennessee’s Chris Johnson is getting $13.5 million annually. Houston’s Arian Foster is making $8.7 million a year. And Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch is earning $7.75 annually. St. Louis’ Steven Jackson, Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson also make more than Jones-Drew.
Jones-Drew has 6,854 yards rushing, 2,473 yards receiving and 74 total touchdowns in six seasons. He carried a career-high 343 times last year, averaging 4.7 yards even though defenses knew he was the focal point of the NFL’s worst offense.
It makes sense that the 27-year-old back would want a new deal after a career year. But the Jaguars certainly don’t want to set a precedent of paying players already in the middle of lucrative contracts.
“Our expectation with any player that’s under contract is for them to fulfill their obligations,” Smith said. “In terms of our position, he’s got two years remaining.”
Jones-Drew skipped all of the team’s offseason workouts, and it’s unclear whether he will attend a mandatory, three-day minicamp that begins Tuesday.
“I would expect him to be here this week, but that’s ultimately his decision,” Smith said. “It’s a mandatory veteran camp for the players that are under contract. I expect all our players under contract to be here, though.”
Jones-Drew could be fined up to $60,000 for missing the three days of practice.
“That’s a decision that certainly is the head coach’s decision, and I would support that,” Smith said.
Jones-Drew hasn’t worked out in Jacksonville the last three years. He missed organized team activities in 2010 to train on the West Coast, and the NFL lockout canceled offseason training sessions last year.
Nonetheless, it hasn’t slowed him down. Jones-Drew has made three consecutive Pro Bowls.