Yes, Maurice Jones-Drew underestimated his new boss.
That’s the import of Jones-Drew’s extensive remarks from Thursday, at which time he said he didn’t think his holdout would extend so deep into the preseason.
“I didn’t think it would get to this point, from where it started,” Jones-Drew said Thursday during a local appearance, via Garry Smits of the Florida Times-Union.
It has gotten to this point only because owner Shahid Khan hasn’t blinked. And Jones-Drew apparently thought Khan would.
Jones-Drew said plenty more during a 12-minute chat with the Times-Union and a pair of local TV stations. It was smart for Jones-Drew to finally make himself heard to the folks in Jacksonville, because even though he claims to be getting a lot of support via Twitter, the folks in Jacksonville generally seem to be aligned with Khan’s “get on the train” mentality. Indeed, when Jones-Drew was introduced to judge a dance contest at a local car dealership, there were “scattered boos” in the crowd of roughly 100.
And while Jones-Drew said he’d love to finish his career in Jacksonville, he didn’t rule out a trade. Which likely means that he would welcome one.
“You’d have to talk to the Jaguars about that,” Jones-Drew said of a possible trade. “They’re the ones who have to go through with any deal.”
The issue arises from Jones-Drew’s belief that he has outperformed the deal he signed in 2009. “Guys get cut with multiple years left on their contracts,” Jones-Drew said. “I don’t see any difference [in his holding out for more money]. Guys perform, but not to their compensation and they get asked to take a pay cut or get released. It’s a production-based business. If you don’t perform, you get cut. If you do perform, you get rewarded with cash payment.”
He’s right. The system permits players under contract to hold out for more, if they are willing to risk incurring $30,000 per day in fines. And, eventually, losing game checks.
The problem here is that Khan isn’t required to give Jones-Drew a new contract. After all, it’s not as if he’s the missing piece to a Super Bowl run. The Jags have had only one winning season during Jones-Drew’s six years with the team. When he lead the league in rushing last season, they were 5-11.
Jones-Drew also expressed concern that Khan’s comments made the player feel unappreciated, but Jones-Drew later said that he likes the fact that Khan “always speaks his mind.”
Our take? Jones-Drew wants to come back. Now Khan needs to give Jones-Drew a way to save face.
Waiving fines that will hit $900,000 on Friday could be the only way to do that, unless Khan can find a way to give Jones-Drew a new deal while still honoring Khan’s claim that there will be no new deal.