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MJD’s situation different from Chris Johnson’s

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Another year, another high-profile running back holdout.

But unlike Chris Johnson’s contractual impasse with the Titans in 2011, Maurice Jones-Drew’s face off with the Jaguars entails a very different context.

Johnson was operating under the terms of a slotted rookie contract.  When drafted near the bottom of the first round in 2008, he had four options:  (1) sign the deal that the Titans offered; (2) accept the one-year rookie minimum and play on a year-to-year basis until becoming a restricted free agent after three years and/or an unrestricted free agent after four (subject to the franchise tag); (3) sit out the full year and re-enter the draft; or (4) find another line of work.

Jones-Drew, in contrast, has decided to disregard the terms of a four-year extension that he signed in 2009, during his fourth NFL season.  In order to get $17.5 million in guaranteed money, he agreed to be bound to the team through 2013, at base salaries that he now finds objectionable.

(In Jones-Drew’s defense, if he wasn’t performing well the team could cut him loose without violating the contract.  But if the players wanted fully-guaranteed contracts, signing bonuses would reduce dramatically or go away entirely.)

While both Johnson and Jones-Drew technically violated their contracts, it’s easier to understand Johnson’s breach because he had no real options or leverage when he signed the deal as a rookie.  Jones-Drew did; he could have played out his initial contract and eventually landed on the open market, even after a year or two under the franchise tag.

Jones-Drew had other options, within the confines of the four-year deal he negotiated.  He could have insisted, for example, on significant escalators or incentive payments based on, for instance, leading the NFL in rushing in 2011 — which he accomplished.  Or he simply could have asked for higher base salaries, accepting the risk that if he wasn’t playing at a level justifying those amounts, the Jaguars could have squeezed him to take less or cut him loose.

Regardless of context or who’s right and who’s wrong, Jones-Drew knows that if he waits a couple more years to complete his current contract, he won’t be nearly as valuable as he is right now.  And so the only leverage he has is to withhold services, even if it costs him at least $63,000 for skipping minicamp — and even if it costs him $30,000 per day once training camp opens.

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20 Responses to “MJD’s situation different from Chris Johnson’s”
  1. steviemo says: Jun 12, 2012 7:08 PM

    Nice try, MJD. Not going to happen. The good news is you’re still a millionaire and you wouldn’t be paid nearly as much to do anything else.

  2. charlutes says: Jun 12, 2012 7:09 PM

    Tell me again why anyone would spend their life punishing their body and risking their mental health to have a slim to none chance at making the NFL, where you’re likely to be underpaid during your best years and then thrown away like garbage, at least if your a running back.

    Don’t think the players are underpaid? check the money they generate, cuz that’s the way the world works. But i guess MJD and Matt Forte had nothing to do with their team’s gates last year.

    Its amazing how the NFL gets away with such an a moral business model while EVERY rich team owner rakes in cash. Then again take a look at the corporate world right now, I guess it isn’t so amazing.

    now scoff cuz that’s way easier than paying attention. we suck people. we are getting worked by the pimp class.

  3. finsfrontofficeisajoke says: Jun 12, 2012 7:21 PM

    It’s hard for me to crack a joke on MJD because I like him so much. He’s a likable guy and a generally excellent team player. It sucks that the business is this way, but you made the wrong choice in 2009.

    I don’t have millions to pay you, but I still think you’re freaking awesome, MJD, for whatever that’s worth.

  4. crunation says: Jun 12, 2012 7:27 PM

    Hazardous and dangerous work environments arent limited to the nfl. The nfl just pays better than 12 dollars an hour. Not everyone sits in a cubicle.

  5. thcnote says: Jun 12, 2012 7:36 PM

    Tell me again why anyone would spend their life punishing their body and risking their mental health to have a slim to none chance at making the NFL, where you’re likely to be underpaid during your best years and then thrown away like garbage, at least if your a running back.

    Don’t think the players are underpaid? check the money they generate, cuz that’s the way the world works. But i guess MJD and Matt Forte had nothing to do with their team’s gates last year.

    Its amazing how the NFL gets away with such an a moral business model while EVERY rich team owner rakes in cash. Then again take a look at the corporate world right now, I guess it isn’t so amazing.

    now scoff cuz that’s way easier than paying attention. we suck people. we are getting worked by the pimp class.
    ——–
    If you don’t like it start your own business and share all your profits with your employees. But I bet you wouldn’t do that.

  6. wolfstar33 says: Jun 12, 2012 8:31 PM

    You sign a contract and it is ok to renegotiate in the last year of said contract. Not with 2 years left. You don’t see defense contractors holding out over their contracts if they outperform them. You should have negotiated a better deal in case you did outperform, not the Jags fault you did not think about the future.

  7. ruthlssjag says: Jun 12, 2012 9:02 PM

    I’m kind of siding w MJD on this one. Ever since he re-signed his contract, he’s been one of, if not the most explosive backs, while taking the wear & tear a RB would endure in this league. The guy didn’t play the last 2 games of the ’10 season & was on pace to finish that season as the leading rusher, which then Arian Foster won.
    He’s been professional, no off-the-field issues, absolutely NO red flags on his resume, yet people wanna ride him out early & often in the offseason saying “he’s done, theirs no way he can perform at a high level anymore,” & what does MoJo do?? He ALWAYS proves his critics WRONG, so if anyone in here thinks he’s not capable of carrying this team on his back another season, move on from this thread & get into an amateur discussion, like say OchoCinco talk!!
    Gene Smith always tries this shiz, & I’ll be the first, number 1, numero uno, # 1.. person to call his bluff. MJD will get paid one way or another, just watch.

    Message to Gene Smith: You’ve outplayed your strategy as a GM, your tactics are predictable.

    Think about it people, wth is a few extra mill to a billionaire owner?? Anyways, keep working out & do what you do best MJD, they’ll meet close to your criteria, Just come back in shape, like ALWAYS, & get ready to pound the rock with a healthy, hungrier Rashaad Jennings!!

  8. trojanwarrior007 says: Jun 12, 2012 9:05 PM

    Tell me again why anyone would spend their life punishing their body and risking their mental health to have a slim to none chance at making the NFL, where you’re likely to be underpaid during your best years and then thrown away like garbage, at least if your a running back.

    Don’t think the players are underpaid? check the money they generate, cuz that’s the way the world works. But i guess MJD and Matt Forte had nothing to do with their team’s gates last year.

    Its amazing how the NFL gets away with such an a moral business model while EVERY rich team owner rakes in cash. Then again take a look at the corporate world right now, I guess it isn’t so amazing.

    now scoff cuz that’s way easier than paying attention. we suck people. we are getting worked by the pimp class.

    ————————-

    Supply and demand. If you don’t play there are hundreds of guys willing to step in.

  9. thegreatestofalltimes says: Jun 12, 2012 9:30 PM

    I just got promoted at work a few months ago, but all of a sudden, the salary just doesn’t do it anymore.

    So, I’m going to start missing the company and department meetings, crow on Twitter and Facebook about how I’m being disrespected and how I deserve a higher salary while the company I work for isn’t doing so hot, financially.

    We’ll see how it goes in the real world. I am confident my employer will give in to my demands. o_O

  10. kspec1982 says: Jun 12, 2012 10:54 PM

    It makes no sence to me you know the jags arn’t going to offer you a new contract this season so you skip manditory camps and lose some of what your fighting to gain?

  11. granadafan says: Jun 13, 2012 12:29 AM

    Guys like Revis, Osi, MJD, Briggs should just sign 2-3 year contracts only so they can re-evaluate their market condition. AD and Chris Johnson will be the next players to be whining about being underpaid in the next couple years. Players want security but can’t stand someone making more than others. They can’t have it both ways.

  12. trubroncfan07 says: Jun 13, 2012 1:20 AM

    That is a low number for a player of MJD’s caliber, I thought situations like this were the reason rookies make a quarter of what they used to make so vets like this could get the money they deserve. Now nobody is getting paid in the NFL but the owners.

  13. trubroncfan07 says: Jun 13, 2012 1:24 AM

    He should get paid more just having to play for a franchise like the jags, If he sits out any games the jags have zero chance of winning. He is their entire offense and helps keep the defense off the field. PAY THE MAN!

  14. joetoronto says: Jun 13, 2012 4:33 AM

    charlutes:

    It’s clear to me that you belong in a socialist system.

    Time to start packing.

  15. mrtog says: Jun 13, 2012 8:29 AM

    thegreatestofalltimes says: Jun 12, 2012 9:30 PM

    I just got promoted at work a few months ago, but all of a sudden, the salary just doesn’t do it anymore.

    So, I’m going to start missing the company and department meetings, crow on Twitter and Facebook about how I’m being disrespected and how I deserve a higher salary while the company I work for isn’t doing so hot, financially.

    We’ll see how it goes in the real world. I am confident my employer will give in to my demands. o_O
    __________________________________

    Well, if you had a major part in the success of your company, they definitely would give in to your demands. Just sayin……..

  16. mrtog says: Jun 13, 2012 8:33 AM

    Can we just make contracts enforceable for both sides? Teams can’t just cut players without buying out their contracts and players can’t hold out without doing the same. As it stands now, only one side (Players) is held to their contracts while the other (Owners) is allowed to break theirs penalty free.

  17. marthisdil says: Jun 13, 2012 9:05 AM

    And I hope the Jags hold him to the contract. Fine his ass $30k a day until he shows up. Don’t release him.

  18. marthisdil says: Jun 13, 2012 9:07 AM

    @mrtog – the players agree to the terms of the contract which allows teams to cut them free. It’s in the contract. If it weren’t, teams couldn’t do it. Thus, totally different beast since the players AGREE to it.

  19. rwings1927 says: Jun 13, 2012 3:15 PM

    People talk about the success he’s had, yes personal success as for the team not so much as they went 5-11 last year. If having the leading rusher in the NFL and 5-11 record doesn’t scream devalue the position I don’t know what else will. Secondly since when is over 8 million dollars underpaid? Everybody always wants to drop the large signing bonuses these guys sign but the teams don’t forget.

  20. judsonjr says: Jun 13, 2012 6:34 PM

    MJD did get a fair deal on this contract. In his first 3 years he got about 2500 yards while splitting time. It wasn’t like he had 4500 yards and carried the load by himself.

    He could be deserving of more money now, but he (or his agent) screwed up on the length of the first deal. You don’t want to be an upcoming free agent RB at age 29. If he’d have taken a smaller signing bonus and cut 1 or 2 years off his deal, he’d probably be in position to get a 4 year deal for 30M+ now.

    It’s the classic get money upfront on a deal, and then whine about being under-paid at the end. I’m sure the Jags would have done a backloaded contract for more money (4M less on the front end for 8 to 10M more on the back). He’d then be a top-paid running back now, but he would have had the risk of losing 16 to 20M due to injury or lack of performance in the early half of the contract.

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