The Jacksonville Jaguars have a busy offseason ahead of them as they look to rebuild for a more successful 2014 season and future, and they have a few key decisions to make. One of them is at the running back position, as the Jaguars will have to decide whether or not they would like to keep running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who has easily been the most recognizable name on the Jaguars over the past few years. He’s no longer the best player on the Jags offense due to the play of star wide receiver Cecil Shorts III, but there’s still hope that MJD can be a successful feature back with improved blocking.
According to Jaguars official site beat writer John Oehser, general manager David Caldwell stated that the Jaguars aren’t going to try to get a deal done with Jones-Drew before he hits free agency, citing the fact that MJD “has earned the right to test” the open market as his reason.
Since I’m a more cynical person and don’t like to take what a front office says at face value, I believe the Jaguars are wisely holding off on signing Jones-Drew until MJD knows what his market truly is like. I think the Jaguars get the feeling that MJD overvalues his worth in the league, and they want him to realize that the market for an underperforming running back isn’t exactly robust. It’s a way of avoiding any rash deals, and also a way of bringing down MJD’s price.
The Jaguars biggest task is to find a franchise quarterback, and it’s obvious that neither Chad Henne nor Blaine Gabbert are anything resembling franchise QBs. Both players realize that, too, and they simply want to stick around in Jacksonville as backups and perhaps compete in training camp. According to the Florida Times-Union’s Hays Carlyon, Caldwell made an incredibly interesting statement by stating his desire to keep Blaine Gabbert, on account of the “strides” that he has made this year. I have no idea what “strides” Caldwell is referencing, and my belief is that the Jaguars are best off letting Gabbert leave in free agency while keeping around Henne as a veteran backup and insurance for their franchise QB.