The disgruntled Jacksonville Jaguars running back joined the team early Sunday after holding out for 38 days.
He wanted a new deal despite having two years left on his old one. And the absence created nothing, unless you count that we learned he and his agent, Adisa Bakari, had an incredible inability to gauge the market.
The Jaguars will hope Jones-Drew is far better at assessing holes than he was at assessing the market.
The Jaguars could have fined him up to $30,000 per day during his absence. But a lot of people are jumping to conclusions in totaling up that number. We don’t know whether the team hit him with the maximum fine or with something less that won’t create the same size dent.
He’s due base salaries of $4.45 million this season and $4.95 million next season.
Had his holdout continued, he would have lost one-17th of his salary -- $261,765 -- for each week missed.
He missed camp last year as he rehabilitated a knee injury and still wound up leading the league in rushing. Reports from this afternoon’s news conference indicated he used that as an example for why he wouldn’t be rusty.
Coach Mike Mularkey said in recent days that Rashad Jennings, who worked as the No. 1 back while MJD was away, would start the opener against Minnesota in a week regardless of other developments.
Players generally don’t begrudge a teammate for doing what he feels is necessary to maximize his earnings, though I wouldn’t blame any Jaguar who feels a degree of betrayal over Jones-Drew’s failure to buy in to the new regime with the rest of the guys. Hearing him claim to have no regrets as soon as he arrived wouldn’t get me fired up over his stance.
He’d be smart to monitor such feelings and work to smooth them over. Also, how about some thicker skin? He said he expects more appreciation than owner Shad Khan’s comments about the Jaguars train leaving the station and that Jones-Drew needed to run and get on board. How can a guy who can endure such a pounding on the field be so sensitive?
Mularkey and his staff certainly have the right to make Jones-Drew prove himself to them. Yes, he’s been a productive star. But with a great season from him, the team was terrible a year ago. Without him, a lot of ground work and foundation building has been done. He needs to show he’s part of it and not thinking he’s some sort of savior walking through the door.
He’s a proud guy, and he lost big time here. He emphasized he has no hard feelings, which is great, because his isn’t the side that has a case for having any. Per John Oehser of the team’s website, MJD said: “Not one person can say what I did was wrong."
I am quite certain he’s incorrect there. Watch: Maurice, what you did was wrong.
He can spin it however he chooses, and I am sure he and Bakari have created some scenario in their heads that makes this situation something other than the giant defeat that it is.
For now, it won’t matter if he gets back to what it’s all ultimately about: Being a productive football player who helps the Jaguars win.