When the Jaguars kicked off their offseason workouts last month, they did it without running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
His absence came as a surprise to coach Mike Mularkey and was reportedly due to dissatisfaction with a contract that is set to pay him $4.45 million this season. He’s got another year on the deal as well with the problem stemming from the fact that Jones-Drew is paid less than other, less prouductive running backs. Jones-Drew is a vital part of the Jaguars offense, but there doesn’t seem to be any movement toward a resolution that will bring Jones-Drew back into the fold.
Mark Long of the Associated Press and Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union each report that Jones-Drew will not be in Jacksonville when the team starts organized training activities on Tuesday. The news isn’t unexpected given the lack of any indication that there was a change in plans coming from the running back. All eyes will now turn toward the June minicamp, the first mandatory work of the offseason and the first time when any acrimony would really be forced to the surface.
The Jaguars have taken some steps toward boosting their offense this offseason by drafting Justin Blackmon and signing Laurent Robinson. Not having Jones-Drew at the top of his game would do a lot to limit the effectiveness those moves wind up having on Jacksonville’s record.