There was no hesitation in anything Maurice Jones-Drew did on Thursday night - including answering questions about his future with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
When asked by NFL Network about his contract and next season, the running back who has been a huge part of the team’s last month of success gave the response fans in Jacksonville and the NFL should approve of, “I want to be here,” he said resoundingly after finishing the night with 103 yards on 14 carries in the 27-20 win over the Houston Texans.
"I want to be here," Jones-Drew said, before going on to say that his agent will get together with Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell in the offseason "and get it done."
Jones-Drew, who used his contract status to play hardball and stayed out of camp for 38 days last season, is looking for a new deal that could be his final big payday of this career. He then suffered a LisFranc injury in the sixth game of the 2012-13 season that ended his career.
Now, with better wheels and a running style that is reminiscent of years past (he led the NFL in rushing in 1,606 yards in 2011) it remains to be seen if both teams can work a deal out. The has an option to franchise him next season, but it is unlikely Jacksonville and Caldwell would use such a tag on him because of the salary cap number. The team also has decisions to make on other veterans who could be salary casualties (Jason Babin, Marcedes Lewis and Paul Posluszny) as well as what to do with their star running back, mainly because there is no other proven runner behind him.
Should Jones-Drew not be able to remain with the only team he has carried the ball for in his pro career, here are five other teams that could use his services.
The Raiders know that Darren McFadden, who has spent most of his career injured, is in a contract season. Rashad Jennings has been a nice dependable back up. He spent his first four seasons in Jacksonville. Could the two be reunited on the west coast.
The Broncos are always looking for runners. It looks like Knowshon Moreno is the lead runner, but who knows. The relationship between Maurice Jones-Drew and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio is solid and was thought to be a reason why the Broncos may have reached out to trade for the running back this season.
No one seems to want to be the lead runner in Dallas. Each season, it looks like the Cowboys will win the NFC East. Jerry Jones is still a gambling man and could make MJD a very rich runner. Jones-Drew could be the missing cog in the offense that needs more balance to take pressure off Tony Romo.
There is a rumor that Chris Johnson will be released after the season. There are decent runners on the Titans team, but if a new coach is named and the management of the team goes in a different direction at quarterback, could there be more chances in the backfield?
The Browns look like geniuses by traded Trent Richardson. But even with a better season, the Browns do not have a solid running attack and the runners on their roster do not strike fear in anyone. A lot has been made about Ben Tate being the runner the team is targeting in the offseason and free agency. MJD may be in the mix as well.