The current struggles of the Jaguars would make sense if they were in the process of tearing it down in order to build it back up. But they’ve yet to start tearing it down.
The trade that sent left tackle Eugene Monroe to the Ravens could be the first step in what should be a fire sale aimed at turning the team around via increased draft picks for 2014 and beyond. And the next guy to go should be running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
He’s currently contributing nothing to the Jaguars, rushing for 138 yards in four games, and averaging 2.4 yards per attempt. Jones-Drews in the final year of a contract that pays him $4.95 million for the season, and he most likely won’t be back next year. So the Jags should get what they can and move on.
Ideally, the Jags would have pounced on the opportunity to ship him to Indianapolis before the Colts, desperate to replace Vick Ballard, had sent a first-round pick to Cleveland for Trent Richardson. While it would have kept Jones-Drew in the division, it’s not a division the Jags are going to contend to win absent the kind of help that comes from extra draft picks.
With the Chargers unexpected contenders at 2-2 and Philip Rivers carrying the offense, the best move could be to send him back to California, where he could help open up an offense that currently relies too much on its quarterback.
Injuries or ineffectiveness could create potential trade opportunities as well over the next three weeks and five days. Regardless, it would be foolish for the Jags to keep Jones-Drew at a time when it’s obvious that the Jaguars are at the bottom of the NFL’s barrel. To start moving toward the top, they need to flip their current assets into more draft picks.
Other players to consider dumping for picks include tight end Marcedes Lewis (hello, Patriots), safety Dwight Lowery, linebacker Paul Posluszny, and anyone else with a salary north of $1 million and skills that would be regarded as desirable elsewhere.
It’s not as if the Jaguars can get all that much worse without any or all of those players.