June 12, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars helmets sit in a row during minicamp at Florida Blue Health & Wellness Practice Fields. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE
As we all know, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew is skipping the team's mandatory three-day minicamp, which started on Tuesday. The team gets back on the practice field on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. EDT (which is open to the public) for another round of practices without their star running back. Jones-Drew's hold out can be seen on both sides. He just finished up leading the NFL in rushing on a woeful offense and the earning life of a running back is short, but the team just did give Jones-Drew a new deal and he has two years left.
While some are trying to draw comparisons to the situation the Tennessee Titans dealt with with Chris Johnson last year, it's quite a bit different. Chris Johnson was dealing with the back end of his rookie contract and was significantly outplaying what he was being paid. Johnson held out and received a new deal.
As Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated points out, the Jaguars and Jones-Drew situation is quite a bit different.
Here's the difference in the MJD case: Jacksonville already went out of its way to reward its running back, before he even became the dominant player he is today.
It's going to be interesting to watch how the non-renegotiations proceed going forward or if the Jaguars will indeed fine Jones-Drew for skipping out on practices and if it bleeds into training camp. Both sides feel like they're in the right. The Jaguars feel like they already gave Jones-Drew a good faith contract before he was even the starting running back, and they did. Jones-Drew feels like he's outplayed his contract and should be rewarded for doing so, and he's not entirely wrong.
Unless cooler heads prevail and the team decides to do something like push some of the later money in the deal forward in the form of a bonus or something like that, it sounds like both sides are dug in and not willing to budge.