Maurice Jones-Drew has been saying he plans to test the free-agent market, and it appears the Jacksonville Jaguars will let their top offensive player do just that.
Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said Tuesday that Jones-Drew “earned the right” to test free agency, but the team is still interested in retaining the running back. That means the three-time All-Pro will be on the open market come March.
The veteran running back will attract plenty of suitors in free agency, but would the Patriots be interested in the soon-to-be 29-year-old?
The Patriots displayed something of a three-headed monster in their backfield in 2013, splitting time between former 1,000-yard rushers Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount as well as the more-versatile Shane Vereen. Ridley led the team with 773 rushing yards, and Blount followed close behind with 772.
Jones-Drew endured arguably his worst full season in the NFL in 2013, carrying the ball 234 times for 804 yards, five touchdowns and a career-low 3.4 yards per carry. After eight seasons, the three-time 1,000-yard back could be breaking down. However, Jones-Drew continued to show flashes of his old form as the season went on, hinting that maybe he still has something left in the tank.
Jones-Drew likely will be looking for a contract along the lines of the four-year, $16 million deal Reggie Bush got from the Detroit Lions last offseason, but that might be too rich for some teams.
With an arsenal of running backs already on the roster, the Patriots don’t seem to be in immediate need of a reliable running back. Although, considering Blount is in the final year of his current deal and Ridley’s fumbling issues, adding a veteran back like Jones-Drew to the mix could be in order this offseason.