With the way that Rashad Jennings has stepped in and played well for the Jacksonville Jaguars, it would not have been surprising to see last season's rushing champion cool his jets a little and return to his team this week. Now that Jennings has shown he deserves a few carries, Maurice Jones-Drew needs to remind the team why he is holding out for more money.
Instead MJD appears to have dug his heels in even harder and demanded a trade. While it appears to not bother Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan in the least, it is something he needs to pay a good it of attention to since it is a mess of his own doing.
Train's leaving the station. Run, get on it.
Khan may be getting tired of the prolonged drama, but his comment shows that he has no idea how to handle the subtle nuances of doing business in the NFL. While it may seem like simple dollars and cents or a bunch of X's and O's to the business person, the game is essentially about dealing with people.
People like to be valued and appreciated for what they do--especially football players. In the NFL that is typically shown through a player's contract. Yes, their paycheck should be a sign of that already, but many players need to know they are valued and respected enough by the organization that the team would be willing to work with them in order to keep them happy.
Khan isn't seeing that at all. He just sees a contract that has two years on it and sees no reason why it shouldn't be honored. In the normal business world that would be the right call, but in the NFL it isn't. He needs to be showing at least an interest in working with his star running back.
As a result of his flippant attitude towards negotiating, Khan is now faced with a superstar that no longer wants to be on his team; he's requested a trade. MJD's agent stated the reason pretty clearly:
Maurice wants to play for an organization that wants him and for an owner who respects him and values what he brings to a team - on the field, in the locker room and in the community.
The question now becomes what will Khan do. He knows that the control is completely in his court. MJD has to eventually report; if he doesn't he will not receive credit for this season and will still have two years left on his contract. Should he wait two years to deal with Jones-Drew he'll be in another position of strength since MJD will be 29 and facing 30, the typical beginning of the end for a NFL running back.
He could give in to the trade demand, but that situation will be similar to the Dwight Howard fiasco in Orlando. Whomever gets him will need to pay him what he thinks he's worth or he'll be leaving them once his contract is up as well. The price tag for MJD will be a big one too.
With the regular season right around the corner the next step for Khan and MJD should become clear real soon.
(Check out these highlights of MJD's career!)