There isn’t much of a market out there for veteran running backs, and Maurice Jones-Drew has unsurprisingly received a very cold market following two disappointing seasons. MJD was healthy for just six games in 2012, and he followed that up with a paltry 3.4 yards per carry last season behind blocking that wasn’t bad enough to cause that low of a YPC. He was still one of the elite backs in 2011 with over 1,600 yards, and there’s still hope that he can produce at a high level. That hope is definitely waning, because Jones-Drew is getting closer to 30 and is yet another example of how short a running back’s shelf-life is in this league.
Although his interest has been limited this offseason, MJD has at least been linked to a few teams, with the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers being the only two teams linked to him not eliminated. It will be interesting to see what the Steelers do to give Le’Veon Bell, who should have a very strong second season, a much better RB2. LeGarrette Blount is also in the running, and it looks like a new favorite has emerged for Jones-Drew’s services.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the UCLA product has a two-day visit scheduled with the Oakland Raiders, as he will visit the team tonight and tomorrow. After Rashad Jennings signed a significant deal with the New York Giants, the Raiders could only re-sign their other impending free agent running back in Darren McFadden. Although McFadden is more talented than Jennings, he is an injury-prone RB who is woefully inconsistent, but he did sign a favorable one-year deal laden with incentives.
That said, the Raiders really need another running back to add to the mix, and I’ve stated that they are in the market for a running back in the draft. But with interest that could be serious in Jones Drew, it’s going to be interesting to see if the Raiders decide to hope that he can get himself back on track. Unfortunately, it could be as risky as banking on a bounce-back season from McFadden in 2014.