As the Jacksonville Jaguars players are set to report to EverBank Field on Thursday for the start of training camp, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew will not be in attendance, according to a report by Adam Schefter of ESPN. This isn't exactly really breaking news and was expected by most, but now we will find out how long Jones-Drew plans to hold out and if the Jaguars chose to fine him up to $30,000-per-day for skipping camp.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan came out and said the team would not be giving Jones-Drew a new contract. "There's more than 50 players under contract," Khan told the Florida Times-Union. "There are other people under contract in management, coaches. Does that mean if you do it for one, you do it for everybody? Where do you draw the line?"
But of course, this non-story gets turned into a story by some, and is still a non-story. Example after the jump.
That's easy. You draw the line on a case-by-case basis. If, for example, one of your employees led the league in rushing at a time when the offense had nothing else, you consider rewarding him.
Especially when you have $25 million in cap space.
Khan may not realize it, but he painted himself into a corner that now prevents him from ever giving a player a new contract before his current contract expires, a common practice in the NFL.
The above was commentary added to the report by Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. First of all, the token reason of he's your best player and you have cap space is just completely flawed reasoning. Jones-Drew is the team's best player, but just because you have the cap space doesn't mean you should pay him and give him a new contract. That's called fiscal irresponsibility and has gotten teams, including the Jaguars, in trouble in the past.
Sure, the Jaguars have cap room but they also have guys like Daryl Smith, Derek Cox, Terrance Knighton, Rashad Jennings, Eben Britton, and Eugene Monroe entering either the final year of their contract or nearing the end of a rookie deal. The team needs cap room, this season, to negotiate those contracts mid-season so they will count on this year's cap number... which is also common practice in the NFL.
The other fun notion is that Khan has somehow now prevented him from ever giving a new player a contract before their contract expires. Jones-Drew has two-years left on his contract, not one. There is a massive difference in the situation. Renegotiating with Jones-Drew now sets a precedent that teams do not like to set, because then every player will come looking for a new deal before the appropriate time.
Khan is drawing the line on a case-by-case basis. He's drawing the line with a player has two-years left on his contract. Spinning his words into a definitive "We will not negotiate with anyone under contract, ever!" is just well... irresponsible and spreads misinformation.