Looking to score a major upgrade on a contract with with $4.45 million due this season on his current contract and $4.95 million due in 2013, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has sat out throughout the offseason and training camp. Negotiations haven't gone well with Jaguars owner Shad Khan applying noticeable Mike Brownisms against a player's demands for a new deal (or a trade). At least not until an adequate replacement is found (see, Palmer, Carson and Dalton, Andy). Khan created a firestorm on Tuesday, saying that the "Train is leaving the station. Run, get on it."
Jones-Drew didn't like Khan's comments. According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, Jones-Drew is "now open to being traded" and that the holdout could extend into the regular season. His agent Adisa Bakari said:
“Obviously, he’s not happy that what started as a very cordial and private conversation is now public and contentious,” Bakari said.
“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,” Bakari said.
Electrons are firing in the brains of Bengals fans, wondering, "well, why not trade for Jones-Drew, right?"
At last report the Cincinnati Bengals have approximately $16.18 million available under the cap, with two second-round draft selections next year. If there's a team that could do it, why not the Bengals? In a way the arguments work if we're speaking strictly numbers and possibilities. Jones-Drew would be an upgrade at running back, the country would be indoctrinated by Who Dey celebrations following the team's Super Bowl win and Corey Dillon would be our friend again.
Now let's point out a couple of things. And this is the point where we remind you that Mike Brown is still the owner of the Cincinnati Bengals.
What are the chances that Mike Brown would trade for a disgruntled player that's threatening a holdout into the regular season after dealing with quarterback Carson Palmer just last year? In Brown's mind he would be enabling a scenario that a player is getting what he wants. Brown is perhaps one of the most bull-headed owners in professional sports. When he usually takes a position, he sticks to it until faced with overwhelming odds against the majority (read: Lewis, Marvin and Jackson, Hue on Palmer, Carson). Even then Brown was favorable for the Palmer trade due to Andy Dalton's emergence.
What are the chances that Mike Brown would offer a contract that Jones-Drew is probably asking? Over the next two seasons, Jones-Drew, currently 27 years old, will earn $9.4 million in base salary and he's sitting out because he's looking for the that final score running backs his age with his history of production typically demand. Sorry kids. That, along with a very solid history of Brownisms, should hint at the virtual impossibility of a trade happening.
Despite having two second-round picks, what are the chances the Bengals sacrifice their lone first-round selection? Because that's probably the cost of what Jacksonville could demand and Cincinnati is already facing an issue with multiple contracts expiring at the position. Try a one and a three, perhaps a one and a four, acquiring a player that will turn 28 next offseason and will be in his early-30s by the time a five-year contract expires. There's more than enough history of good-to-great running backs facing a severe decline when they approach their 30s.
Then there's the fact that the Jaguars are very unlikely going to trade Jones-Drew anyway. From Alfie and the awesome Big Cat Country:
The problem with asking for a trade, is it's not likely going to change the (stance) of the Jaguars. Owner Shad Khan is a smart business man, and if he was not willing to cave on giving Jones-Drew a new deal, why would he cave and allow Jones-Drew out with a trade? Facilitating the trade over a contract dispute would would be caving all the same as caving with a new contract. Not to mention the fact that Jones-Drew has absolutely no leverage whatsoever.
Sure Cincinnati's front office has appeared to change at times. There's continuity, good draft selections and even outreach to fans with a pre-Training Camp rally, ticket deals and reduced season tickets. But not this. Maybe we're battle hardened from the years of a war that's turned into a nine-year cease fire. Sometimes you just know enough to weigh a fairly reliable judgment.
Trading for Jones-Drew is entertaining. Cincinnati has the draft picks and the money to pull it off. There's even the point that the Bengals would welcome an infusion of talent at the position, using a system with Jones-Drew and offseason signee BenJarvus Green-Ellis. But entertaining is all this is.