Mike Mularkey didn’t know that Maurice Jones-Drew wasn’t going to be at the start of Jaguars offseason workouts, so he’s probably not aware of the reason why Jones-Drew isn’t in Jacksonville.
According to Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com, the reason for Jones-Drew’s absence has to do with his desire for a new contract. Prisco reports that team sources have told him that the running back is looking for a new deal. He signed a five-year deal in 2009 that will pay him just under $10 million in the next two seasons. That makes him the eighth-best paid runner in the league, a status that doesn’t quite fit for a player who has finished no lower than fifth in rushing yards over the last three seasons.
Jones-Drew is 27, so he’ll be close to 30 when his contract comes to an end and that’s not an age that sees many running backs land big contracts. His desire to maximize his earnings right now makes sense, but so does reluctance to do so on the Jaguars’ side. They have him signed to a good contract and the list of running backs fading away is far too long to recount in this space. His style and usage doesn’t lend itself to a very long career, either.
It has to be noted that this is just one report and that Jones-Drew has skipped voluntary work in the past without any negative impact on his game or on his relationship with the Jaguars. It’s certainly not something the team needs to deal with while breaking in a new coaching staff, however, and that makes this situation one to watch going forward.