Jaguars apparently will not be trading Maurice Jones-Drew



Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Gene Smith told the Florida Times-Union on Wednesday that he has no intentions of trading holdout running back Maurice Jones-Drew.

“Maurice is a Jaguar,” Smith told the newspaper before the team’s annual Kickoff Luncheon.

Asked if he’d consider dealing the 2011 NFL rushing leader, Smith said, “No.”

Jones-Drew entered Day 35 of his holdout Wednesday. The star running back wants a new deal after leading the league with 1,606 yards rushing last season. He has two years remaining on a five-year, front-loaded contract worth $31 million. He is scheduled to make $4.45 million this season and $4.95 million in 2013.

Earlier this month, Jaguars owner Shad Khan said MJD’s absence from training camp “doesn’t even move the needle” in terms of stress. He reiterated his stance by saying, “This is not a team about one person,” then telling Jones-Drew, “Train’s leaving the station. Run, get on it.”

The comments didn’t sit well with the running back, and sources close to the situation told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Jones-Drew was open to being traded.

“Maurice wants to play for an organization that wants him and for an owner who respects him and values what he brings to a team — on the field, in the locker room and in the community,” his agent, Adisa Bakari, said.

Asked about his comments Wednesday by the Times-Union, Khan told the newspaper, “I want to be honest and truthful.

“I have absolutely no regrets.”

Khan and Smith insist they have no plans to negotiate a new deal with MJD, not wanting to set a precedent of paying players with two years remaining on lucrative deals that included large signing bonuses.

Coming off a career year, Jones-Drew wants to be one of the NFL’s highest-paid backs. His average salary per year ranks behind Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson, Tennessee’s Chris Johnson, Philadelphia’sLeSean McCoy, Houston’s Arian Foster, St. Louis’Steven Jackson, Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams and Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch.

Both sides have valid arguments.

Jones-Drew signed his deal in 2009, before rushing for at least 1,300 yards in three consecutive seasons. Not only has he seemingly outperformed his contract, MJD is the face of the franchise and probably the only player on the roster known outside small-market Jacksonville.

The Jaguars, meanwhile, paid him based on the expectation that he would flourish as a starter after spending the first three years of his career splitting carries with Fred Taylor. The team isn’t enamored with paying a running back into his 30s, especially one who takes as many pounding hits as Jones-Drew does. Plus, the Jaguars have missed the playoffs in each of his three seasons as the starter.

Jones-Drew is entering his seventh season. He has 6,854 yards rushing, 2,473 yards receiving and 74 total touchdowns. He carried a career-high 343 times last season, averaging 4.7 yards even though defenses knew he was the focal point of Jacksonville’s offense.

The Jaguars open the season Sept. 9 at Minnesota.

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