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? Yesterday, we discussed the first trade scenario here. After the jump is the second in a series of potential trade scenarios:
Team: Cincinnati Bengals
What we get: 1st and 3rd round draft picks in 2013
Why the Bengals would trade: If Andy Dalton continues to improve this year, the Bengals have the making for a very good offense. While I could understand if someone's high on Green-Ellis, I don't see a very high ceiling. He's a good receiver out of the backfield, but the New England Patriots preferred Danny Woodhead in this role. He's a good goal line back (insert Lendale White comparison), but again, he was never the "go to back" in those situations in New England. As the Bengals take a look around the division, they see an elite back in Ray Rice, "the next Adrian Peterson" Trent Richardson and Rashard Mendenhall who is either great or terrible depending on how much you like him; they will need to have a runner that can help them pace the game with 3 potential strong running division rivals. Like the Jets, the Bengals have a young Quarterback who would definitely benefit from having a player such as MJD to keep defenses honest. When Jones-Drew and AJ Green are both on the field, the defenses will be forced to choose who will get the extra attention, especially if guys like Mohammad Sanu or Marvin Jones develop into solid pass catchers.
Why the Jags would trade: First, trading MJD to the Bengals will have the same "double benefit" that I explained yesterday in the first trade scenario. The Bengals are also seeing that with their off season additions and now Jones-Drew, they should be better than their overachieving 2011 playoff team. The Bengals have put together a nice team with a strong defense, so they won't mind giving up what they feel will be an "almost" 2nd and 4th rounder, here.
Why MJD would go there: Andy Dalton and AJ Green. Not only does this make for a very good offense, which Jones-Drew has never really been on in his 7 year career, but for the first time Defenses will have to prepare for more than just him. I'm sure Maurice has heard the talk about how he's not explosive anymore or capable of big plays. If traded, I'm sure it's got to have an influence if he can get on a team that will allow him to face 7 man fronts again, where he can prove to himself, the fans, and the NFL how good he can be with even just one or two more guys not looking his way,
Why not?: The Bengals ignored the Running Back position for the better part of the draft finding Daniel Herron in the 6th round (who according to their official depth chart is on special teams here). They also gave only 3 years and 4 million guaranteed to Green Ellis, so perhaps they are looking to draft a Running Back early in 2013, taking the same path the Jaguars took to drafting Justin Blackmon after mostly patching the position for several years. Also, if the Bengals aren't willing to part with a 1st round draft pick, it will be really hard to justify getting anything lower for a team that should be picking towards the end of each round.
Side Note: To me, the Bengals are the second most likely out of this series to actually pull the trigger on a trade for MJD. The team that makes the most sense to me will be the last team of the series.