With murmurs of Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew's holdout extending into the 2012 regular season, one has to begin to wonder if his career with the Jaguars is coming to a close. At this point, it's pretty clear that the Jaguars are not willing to renegotiate with Jones-Drew and give him the deal that he's looking for. It's also pretty clear than Jones-Drew is going to be steadfast in trying to get one.
While I tend to believe (I guess more hope, now) that Jones-Drew will report before the real game checks begin to be dispersed, it's reaching the point where his relationship with the Jaguars might be beyond repair, which could mean the 2012 season could be his last with Jacksonville.
I'm generally all for players trying to get the most money they can at their career, because life is short in the NFL and life after the NFL is typically long and painful. At this point in Jones-Drew's holdout however, if he continues it into the regular season he's just cutting off his nose to spite his face and will actually be harming his long term earning potential as an NFL running back.
Typically, running backs who hold out through the preseason don't perform as well during the regular season. While Jones-Drew had all of five carries in the preseason in 2011 and lead the NFL in rushing, he's got to learn an entirely new offense under an entirely new coaching staff for the 2012 season, which is going to affect not only his on-field production but his playing time while he gets acclimated. As such, Jones-Drew's stats are going to suffer which are going to force his future earnings to suffer.
Not only that, but if Jones-Drew remains on the roster beyond the 2012 regular season, what do you think is going to happen when it's time for mini-camp, OTA's, and training camp in 2013? Do you think Jones-Drew is going to report with now one-year left on his deal, or is he going to once again refuse to show up in the hopes of getting a new deal, after likely a not-as-productive season and after not getting one the previous year?
There is a point at which Jones-Drew has to realize the Jaguars are not going to give him a new deal, so he'll need to bite the bullet and show up. It's possible Jones-Drew will wait until Week 10 of the regular season to report so he will accrue a season, but again doing that will just further push towards being traded in the offseason, especially if Jennings continues to be a perfectly capable running back and the Jaguars are moderately successful on offense.
Unless Jones-Drew reports by the weekend so he will have enough time for the coaches to feel comfortable playing him in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings, this very well could be the last "season" for Jones-Drew with the Jaguars. There's no real point in keeping him beyond this season, unless it's to make a very strong point in regards to holdouts and contract renegotiation.
One of Jones-Drew's best qualities is his stubbornness, but it's also by far his worst quality.