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After eight NFL seasons, it’s beginning to look more and more as if Maurice Jones-Drew has played his last game as a Jacksonville Jaguar.
Jones-Drew officially becomes an unrestricted free agent when the NFL new league year begins in earnest next month and at a time when the Jags have admitted they are looking to cut costs. The 28-year-old star back has let it be known he’s looking to cash in on what will almost certainly be his last big payday.
Jacksonville elected not to re-sign Jones-Drew earlier on, which some are speculating was their way of letting the career-long franchise player know that after eight seasons, 1,804 carries and 80 rushing touchdowns his services are no longer needed by the organization.
Clouding his Sunshine State future all the more are the pool of free-agent backs now on the market. Darren McFadden, LeGarrette Blount and Knowshon Moreno are among them, and the 20 underclassmen rushers who have thus far made themselves available in the upcoming NFL Draft.
The Jaguars own the No. 3 overall selection in a draft where Auburn’s Tre Mason, Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde, USC’s Silas Reed and Florida State’s James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman are widely considered the top prospects at the running back position.
“He’s been a great player in this organization; he’s earned the right to see what his value and his market is” Jaguars GM David Caldwell told Jacksonville.com of the organization’s rationale for allowing Jones-Drew to become a free agent. “And it’s our right to decide if we want to match it and bring him back. I think that’s kind of where we’re at now.”
Jones-Drew, who rushed for 803 yards and five touchdowns last season in the final year of a five-year, $31 million deal, has let it be known he wants to stay in Jacksonville, provided the price is right.
“Hopefully I can stay here, but that’s not up to me,” said Jones-Drew. “It’s time to sit back with my family and talk and see what’s best for us. I have three kids, don’t want to move them around, but if that’s the case, then it has to be done. We’ll see. There are some other variables. My agent and the organization will get those figured out and hopefully, we can get it done.”
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