Jacksonville Jaguars star Maurice Jones-Drew and owner Shad Khan don’t get along. That much is clear.
Khan said today that “the train is leaving the station. Run, get on it,” alluding to the holdout running back. He has 2 years left on a deal that pays him $4.5 million this year and $5 million the next. “Pocket Hercules” knows that running backs are generally considered washed-up at age 30, and he’s already 27 with a lot of tread-wear on him. He may never get a chance at a more lucrative deal and everyone knows it.
It’s generally thought that he will have little choice but to report to camp eventually since he’s got two years remaining on it. With another great season under his belt, he’ll have more leverage next offseason.
While it’s questionable to think that Khan would be open to a trade, it might be possible that some team out there may believe a running back of his caliber may be what they need to put them into the playoffs and/or into the Super Bowl. The Jags are rebuilding and still need talent at a lot of positions, and pride being what it is, a trade might not be such an impossibility.
A few come to mind immediately.
With Ryan Matthews being an injury risk and losing FB Mike Tolbert to the Carolina Panthers, the San Diego Chargers might be willing to make a deal if the price is right, but that price would be pretty steep…a first-rounder in the 2013 draft at the very least.
The Atlanta Falcons were willing to jump up and grab Julio Jones a couple of years ago and that appears to be paying off. With RB Michael Turner having a lot of wear himself, they could conceivably make such a trade. Turner and MJD are interchangeable and Jones-Drew has a broader skill-set. They’d have to give up probably a first, a third, and probably a fifth-round pick straight up or trade Turner plus a 3rd for MJD.
The New Orleans Saints will have their full complement of picks for 2013 after Bountygate. Depending on their perception of Mark Ingram’s durability, the could package Ingram, sell him as a much younger back with fresh legs, and bundle a 3rd or 4th round pick with him in exchange for an outstandingly consistent runner that won’t be called upon to carry the already high-octane Saints offense.
The Denver Broncos running game has struggled, and with a small window in Peyton Manning’s waning years, Johns Elway and Fox are probably secretly salivating at the idea of adding a guy like Pocket Hercules. Imagine he and Manning in the same offense! John Fox does love the running game and adding him would give them balance.
With the animosity between Khan and Maurice Jones-Drew, I suspect there are some “secret” phone calls outbound from Jacksonville as I type this…just to put the feelers out and let the brass do some due diligence.