With the reports of Jones-Drew and the Jaguars Front Office being in "constant contact" since the off season, I've become very suspicious that a trade is looming. Jones-Drew will play this year; he may be willing to part with a large chunk of change in fines, but regular season games are quite a bit more.
Perhaps MJD is unconcerned about the fines because he is comfortable with the idea that whatever team trades for him knows he's going to want to be paid. After all, if MJD has two solid years left, and potentially more, I could see a team willing to give him a big check and the guaranteed money he is looking for. Maybe he's been in constant contact working with the FO on what his expectations/wish list details are in the event of a trade. You don't do that for every player, but I think a player like MJD deserves input if we get similar offers.
I like Jennings, and I think he has a deceptively high ceiling, but I'm not going to sit here and tell you he'd fill Jones-Drew's shoes, nor am I going to promise that he will be the long term starter from this year going forward, though he appears to have those qualities.
All of this begs the question, who would be willing to trade for the 7 year veteran, even if he was the leagues leading rusher in 2011? After the jump is the first in a series of potential trade scenarios:
Team: New York Jets
What we get: 2 2nd round picks (2013, 2014), 1 Conditional 3rd round pick (2014), Vladmir Ducassee.
Why the Jets would trade: The Jets have been on highs and lows since Brett Favre, but have only been successful with a strong running game. Last year, their running game wasn't impressive and neither was their team. For Tebow to be a successful "weapon" in a wildcat kind of offense, or really any offense, there will need to be a rusher that can distract the attention from him and open lanes. Also, Mark Sanchez's numbers are better, and he appeared more confident, when he's got a running game to rely on. Personally, I think Sanchez sucks, but he still has upside to tap into. The Jets have also shown that they are willing to gamble on the older guys, and have been moderately successful with Farve/L.T., so a guy like Jones-Drew (who is much further from the end of his career than those two) won't scare them off.
Why the Jags would trade: The Patriots are the only team to have either beaten the Jags in the playoffs, or stopped them from going to the playoffs since the Titans three-peat in 99. Naturally, the organization would want to do anything they can to give the Patriots problems. On a serious note, I find trading MJD to the Jets to be double beneficial. First, we'll only have to play him on average every other year, so he wont be constantly reminding us how good he is. Second, and starting THIS year, playing him an average of every other year should be exciting for us fans. It won't be like sending him off to the NFC where we may not even see him play a great game ever again at Everbank. Finally, even though there is reason for the Jets to think MJD could be the piece they are missing, I just don't see a complete team. In other words, we wont be helping to complete a team we should now worry about trying to beat.
Why MJD would go there: While I don't think Shonn Greene is starter quality, I think he's a great change of pace/3rd down back that could complement MJD quite well. MJD is a player who will want as many snaps as possible, but knows the more hits he takes the worse for the longevity for his career. In New York, he will get to be the center piece of the offense, but he knows he wont be expected to carry the ball 400 times. The two most important things to me if I'm Jones-Drew is will they pay me and are they a championship contender. Again, I don't think the Jets are a great team, but they have a lot of great pieces and I think they give him the contract he wants.
Why not?: The Jets are witnessing all the teams in their division getting better through the draft and though Farve and LT had limited success, neither were long term solutions and LT's level of play dropped after one year. MJD will probably want to find a team with a better QB. Also, older players typically prefer warmer places unless they have a lack of options, and MJD should have plenty. Also, I'm not so sure Rex Ryan is the personality Jones-Drew will feel most comfortable with.