There seems to be some misconceptions that the Jacksonville Jaguars are being cheap in their unwillingness to renegotiate Maurice Jones-Drews’ contract. They are not being cheap, it simply makes no sense for them to do.
First off let’s take a look at the big paydays that Matt Forte and Ray Rice got. According to many sportswriters Jones-Drew should be upset his missed out on a lucrative contract when he signed his current contract in 2009 . So lets compare.
Matt Forte: Contract:
4 yr(s) / $30,400,000 Signing Bonus $4,000,000
Ray Rice: Contract:
5 yr(s) / $35,000,000 Signing Bonus $15,000,000
Now let’s take a look at what Jones-Drew signed for in 2009.
MJDs 2009 contract:
Contract:5 yr(s) / $30,950,000 Signing Bonus $9,000,000
I fail to see where the "need" to "Pay the man" more is. So why should the Jaguars renegotiate the contract..? It looks like the Jaguars “paid the man" and showed how serious they were to MJD in 2009.
So why should they have to renegotiate with him now in 2012? He is still one of the top paid running backs in the league and has two years left on a substantial contract, one that I may add had a hefty signing bonus.
Maybe comparing him to Forte and Rice isn’t totally fair or accurate. If that’s the case, let’s compare his salary to the other top 5 running backs (based on the reported cap hit by the teams to the NFL). Which, interestingly enough he is #5 on (http://www.spotrac.com/top-salaries/nfl/cap-hit/running-back/)
1 - Adrian Peterson at $12,705,000
2 - Chris Johnson at $10,000,000
3 - Steven Jackson at $9,648,332
4 - DeAngelo Williams at $8,700,000
5 - Maurice Jones-Drew at $8,310,000
So in this case, maybe you could make an argument that he is underpaid. That is until you look at what the other teams are getting for their money. In this case, you see not that Jones-Drew is underpaid, but that arguably the others on this list got overpaid.
APs’ is on PUP after less than one season
CJs’ cut his performance in a third after his big payday last year (barely a 1000 yds).
SJs’ performance dropped from 1,400+ yards to a tick above 1,100 yds after his contract
DWs’ performance is under 1,000 yds rushing after his big contract
What you get from all of this is when you compare Maurice Jones Drews to his peers, it would seem that.
1 - The two premiere Running Backs in the league with new contracts this year are getting paid LESS than MJD. So he didn’t miss out on anything.
2 - Based on 2011-2012 performance, the top 4 paid running backs in the league can arguably be seen as overpaid. With the possible exception being Steven Jackson, although even his numbers are not what they were his contract year.
Given that information, you cannot blame the Jaguars on this one.. as it would seem the problem lies not in the Jaguars giving him a new contract because they are cheap. Quite, the opposite, they gave MJD a contract in 2009 that is holding up even today. Is it the best ? No.. but it is a fair, and commensurate with his peers, contract. One that for the record he still has two years left on. Forte and Ray Rice, just signed their contracts, while Jones-Drew has already pocketed 3 years of his big money contract.
The Jaguars should be commended, not admonished for what they did in 2009. They gave a rising star a fair and amicable contract before his rookie contract was up. The only problem here, it seems is that rising star has risen, and simply doesn’t want to live up to his side of the deal.
Does he have a right to look forward to renegotiating a new contract next year ? Yes and no. Yes, because that is when teams often want to extend the contract of their best players, and No, because he still will have one more year left on his contract.
In any case, he is far from a poor underpaid player that "needs to feed his family", what he needs to do is "Show up to camp" and stop the Diva act.