Now that it appears Maurice Jones-Drew may be playing the final 10 games of his career in teal and black, the team may not be opposed to trading the star running back.
But the offer would have to be a pretty good one if the Jaguars are going to part ways with one of the more popular players to ever put on a Jacksonville jersey.
A report from Mike Florio and Pro Football Talk claims that the Jaguars, and more specifically team general manager David Caldwell, are not actively looking to trade Jones-Drew.
If the right offer came along, however, the team would listen to it. That does not necessarily mean the team’s second leading rusher of all time and the 2011 NFL rushing champion would be out the door before the NFL trade deadline.
Let me emphasize here - the right deal would have to come along.
After the Jaguars lost 35-19 to the Broncos on Sunday and the fact that although he is not the back he was two seasons ago before a LisFranc injury ended his season after six games last season, there have been two solid games played by the running back the past two weeks.
The idea of trading Jones-Drew started around the time the team traded left tackle Eugene Monroe nearly two weeks ago to the Baltimore Ravens. It was feared at the time by the media and locals that the team - which remains winless to date, might have a fire sale of sorts and trade higher priced players or players in the final year of their contract to stockpile picks for the 2014 NFL Draft.
Monroe remains the only player traded, but the team did announce that once Dwight Lowery comes off injured reserve, he would be released. Paul Posluszny and Jones-Drew are two names who remain a hot topic of trade - but with the recent play of both players, it seems impossible to think they would be traded. Posluszny has stepped his game up and is amongst the NFL leaders in tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown against Denver.
After the 2011 season, Jones-Drew used the newness of ownership and the offseason to try to create leverage for a new contract. He sat out 38 days of OTAs, training camp and the preseason to try and negotiate with new owner Shad Khan and then team general manager, Gene Smith. Nothing came of the standoff other than MJD’s being cast as the villain in the situation and when he came back to Jaguars camp prior to the start of the regular season, he tells the media that is was, “just business.”
A somewhat out of shape Jones-Drew played six games last season before being tackled by Tommy Kelly and was lost for the season, ending any chance of him renegotiating a contract.
Jones-Drew rehabilitated a surgically-repaired foot over this offseason and came back to OTAs and training camp as well as the preseason, but looked a step slow and heavier than he ever has. His offensive line had failed him the first four games of the season, but since the trade of Monroe it appears Jones-Drew and the line have shown improvement.
Add to the fact Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts have both been on the field in those two game and Chad Henne has been behind center for a game and half and it looks like the team offensive issues are getting better. The offensive line is playing tighter and only gave up two sacks each in the last two contests.
Trading Jones-Drew may be a sore spot with the fans, but if the “right” deal from the Giants or Denver or Arizona or even Miami comes along, it might be the best thing for both sides since it appears he is not part of the future package of this franchise.
This might also allow him to finally play in more playoff games and get the elusive Super Bowl ring all player desire.
But again, that is a big if. And “if he is not traded then he all but assured to be on open market in the offseason where the team will not get anything in return for his services. Franchising him only hurts the Jaguars even more in a salary cap hit.
While I doubt the trade could happen, I would not be surprised if it did.