Jacksonville Jaguars fans who feared holdout running back Maurice Jones-Drew may be placed on the trading block received some good news Wednesday.
No, Jones-Drew has not signed a new deal. But Jaguars general manager Gene Smith gave team loyalists some hope when he told the Florida Times-Union that he has no intention of trading Jones-Drew.
"Maurice is a Jaguar," Smith said at the team's annual Kickoff Luncheon.
Jones-Drew led the NFL in rushing last season and remains in the Jaguars' long-range and rebuilding plans. When asked if he would trade Jones-Drew if made an offer by another team, Smith said bluntly, "No."
Wednesday marked the 35th holdout day for Jones-Drew, who wants a new deal for leading the NFL in rushing with 1,606 yards last season. He reportedly wants a mega-deal, far more than the current five-year, $31 million deal that he currently has two years left on. He is due to make nearly $4.5 million this season and nearly $5 million next season, but reportedly wants a deal that will more than double those amounts per season, as well as a long-term deal that is guaranteed, as opposed to the front-loaded contract he is currently signed to.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan did himself no favors when earlier in the month he said of Jones-Drew, "This is not a team above one person. Train's leaving the station. Run, get on it."
Those comments led to Adisa Bakari, Jones-Drew's agent, to reply by saying his client was open to a trade if a new contract was not forthcoming.
"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," Bakari told ESPN at the time.
Kahn, however, may have poured more gas on the fire when he reiterated again to the Times-Union that "I have absolutely no regrets" about his previous comments about MJD.
Jacksonville opens the NFL regular season on Sunday, Sept. 9 when it visits the Minnesota Vikings.