JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Maurice Jones-Drew was a no-show again.
The Jacksonville Jaguars running back skipped the first day of organized team activities Tuesday, and coach Mike Mularkey said the three-time Pro Bowler wants a contract extension.
“He’s talked about trying to get an extension for his contract, which I think everybody’s aware of,” Mularkey said. “I’m on the coaching end of those matters. I talk to him about football and what I can do for him on the field and in the locker room.”
Jones-Drew is scheduled to make $4.45 million this season, considerably less than other top tailbacks like Chris Johnson, Arian Foster and Marshawn Lynch.
Since the workouts are voluntary and Jones-Drew has stayed away before, it’s not a huge concern. But the Jaguars would like to have their best offensive player in attendance to get acquainted with a new coaching staff and new playbook.
“It’s all voluntary,” Mularkey said. “I wish he was here. He knows we wish he was here. His teammates have talked to him about it. It’s a personal decision. There’s nothing I can do about it. I think if I spend a lot of energy on worrying about that, it’s not going to go in a good direction for the guys that are here. And I want to show them that positive energy that I have and I don’t want to let anything be a distraction from the guys that are here. He’ll catch up when he comes back in.”
Jones-Drew hasn’t worked out in Jacksonville the last three years. He missed OTAs in 2010 to train on the West Coast, and the NFL lockout canceled offseason training sessions last year.
Nonetheless, it hasn’t slowed him down. Jones-Drew led the NFL in rushing last season, gaining 1,606 yards for the league’s worst offense and making his third consecutive Pro Bowl. He has two years remaining on a five-year deal worth $31 million that he signed in 2009.
Jones-Drew is entering his seventh season. He has 6,854 yards rushing, 2,473 yards receiving and 74 total touchdowns. He carried a career-high 343 times last season, averaging 4.7 yards even though defenses knew he was the focal point of Jacksonville’s offense.
It makes sense that he would want a new deal after a career year. Plus, he’s considered underpaid compared to some of the league’s other top backs. Johnson is getting $13.5 million annually. Foster is making $8.7 million a year. And Lynch is earning $7.75 annually. St. Louis’ Steven Jackson, Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson also make more than Jones-Drew.