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Monday, September 3, 2012

Maurice Jones-Drew didn’t win but neither did Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan refused to budge. Although many people believe that Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has outperformed his contract, Khan refused to cave-in to his star running back’s demands for a new contract.

And it seems that Khan won the standoff with Jones-Drew after Jones-Drew ended his 38-day holdout and returned to the team on Sunday despite not receiving the new contract he petitioned for.

But did Khan and the Jacksonville Jaguars really win?

On the surface it may seem that way. The Jaguars stuck to their principles and showed players all over the league that they will not be manipulated into restructuring contracts or giving extensions to players no matter how well they perform.

While that may work for teams that win on a more consistent basis like the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, this is still the Jaguars.

Every team will have a player or players who are not happy with their contract situation but teams handle those situations differently. Some teams have a reputation for rewarding their best players like the Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers do.

Sure many people believe that Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker deserves a contract extension but he will make more than enough money with the $9.5 million he will make next year after the Patriots used their franchise-tag on him. The Patriots did reward some of their other players with long-term contract extensions though.

The Steelers didn’t have much cap room to work with this offseason but they still took time to reward the people they feel have been instrumental in their success. The Steelers signed linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons, Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu, wide receiver Antonio Brown and head coach Mike Tomlin to contract extensions over the offseason.

Although they didn’t extend the contract of star wide receiver Mike Wallace, I’m pretty sure the Steelers have made it clear to him that he is a priority and that he will get paid if he is patient.

The Giants have had to deal with the annual grumbling from defensive end Osi Umenyiora year after year but they finally got him situated during the offseason. Umenyiora had signed a contract extension with the team back in 2005 but for the past three or four years he had been trying to lobby for a new deal because he felt he had outperformed that contract.

No team will renegotiate a contract that still has three or more years left on it so it’s understandable why Umenyiora had to wait so long. Umenyiora is now in the final year of his contract but he is now 30 years-old and is no longer a starter for the team. He understood that he was not going to get the type of money he sought from the team and came to an agreement that would keep him in New York.

Getting back to the Jaguars situation though, the Jaguars haven’t shown the kind of commitment to their players that the teams listed above have shown. On top of that the Jags haven’t had a winning season since 2007, Jones-Drew’s second year in the league.

You can’t blame Jones-Drew for that though, he’s done his part. All he has done over the past two seasons is average 305 carries and 1,357 yards-per-year. He has also scored 12 or more rushing touchdowns in three of the six seasons he has been with the team.

He has clearly been the Jaguars best player unlike some of the players mentioned above who have gotten contract extensions so if Jones-Drew can’t get rewarded for his stellar play then no player who plays for the Jacksonville organization will.

And that paints a pretty bleak picture not only for anyone already playing in the Jaguars organization but for any player that would consider playing for them. Jacksonville isn’t the sexiest market to play in to begin with but the message that Khan is sending is that he doesn’t care how well a player performs; they won’t be squeezing him for extra money.

And for a new owner who seeks to turn his new acquisition into a winning organization; that may not be the message he wants to send.

Jones-Drew still has two seasons left on his contract so the Jaguars still have plenty of time to work out a contract extension with him but if they go into the 2013 season without paying him what he is worth then they may have problems getting players to sign with them in the future.

Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.
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