Will Maurice Jones-Drew end up like Chris Johnson in 2012?

Heading into the 2011 season, one of the best debates around the NFL was about who was the best running back in the league. Was it Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson? Both were at the top, and many fantasy football owners had a hard time determining which to pick, especially with Johnson holding out.

Whether it was due to his holdout, workload or just not caring anymore, Chris Johnson came out in 2012 and wasn’t the running back we got used to seeing. He got his new contract, but the production didn’t come with it. It took him until his 4th game to even get his first 100 yard game, and his 5th game to get his first touchdown. Johnson only had 1,047 yards and 4 touchdowns, which was a far cry from the running back who went for 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns two years before.

Similar to Johnson in 2011, Maurice Jones-Drew has yet to report to camp in 2012 because he’s unhappy with his contract. I don’t blame Jones-Drew, because he’s played his whole career for a mediocre team and has been effective. Only two players had over 300 carries in 2011; Jones-Drew with 343 and Michael Turner with 301. Facing loaded boxes and inept quarterback play, MJD was the only player that the Jags could lean on. He does deserve this contract.

While he does deserve it, you have to worry about what will happen if he ever does see the field this year. Johnson signed his new contract on September 1st, the day of the Titans final preseason game. It obviously took him awhile to get used to the NFL game again, and MJD could face the same problem. The Jaguars season starts in two weeks, and the sides aren’t even close. Reports of a trade make it even worse.

Maurice Jones-Drew deserves a new contract, and he seems determined to get one. There’s no telling who’s going to cave, but when MJD finally plays another NFL game he may not be the player we remember.

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