On Sunday, Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew ended his lengthy holdout, finally showing up at the facility. He missed the entire offseason, his skipped mini-camp, he dodged preseason, he incurred a bunch of fines … and he got no new contract.
Yet Sunday, Jones-Drew said in his relatively awkward news conference that he has no regrets. He was back on the field in pads Monday, taking some handoffs, and at this point, it seems the team is leaning toward not having him pay those fines ($30,000 per day). Nothing definitive has been said about it, though.
If he’s in shape like he says, maybe Jones-Drew won’t notice a difference had he not held out. Maybe he can get acclimated much faster than a guy like Titans RB Chris Johnson. Maybe not.
Still, the holdout is over. What were the lingering effects? I’m told there are some.
What Jones-Drew might have done is make it slightly more difficult for that next contract extension (he has two years left). I know, duh. But it’s still noteworthy.
The RB has set the bar much higher for how good he needs to be to start talks mid-season. MJD will have to be tearing it up just to get them to begin a real discussion.
For a second, let’s assume he hadn’t held out. And let’s assume he started off this season like he was last season, gaining 1,606 yards.
Well, more than likely the Jaguars, I’m told, would have engaged in contract talks with him midway through this year. Now? We’ll see. Owner Shad Khan still isn’t thrilled that MJD held out at all, and that’s one reason Jones-Drew will have to be that much better for talks to happen before 2012 ends.
A source also tells me the Jaguars aren’t pumped about how their RB came off during his opening interview. And not just because of that scraggly beard he rocked, one he says he won’t shave. (Are holdout beards a thing?) He still sounds like he has a chip on his shoulder, and maybe he does. I mean, I know MJD isn’t thrilled to be back without a new contract.
But the bottom-line is, he wasn’t prepared to miss game checks (even if he’s set financially) and he finally realized the front office wasn’t changing its mind. No wonder he’s not thrilled. He had to cave.
Here’s one thing that shouldn’t be discounted, however: Even with all that, even with MJD not thrilled to be back, even with the front office not thrilled with how he appeared in front of the media, they kinda like it. Jones-Drew is pissed, and he may play better that way. He may take that emotion onto the field.
In fact, the Jaguars hope he does.