Yesterday's announcement that the Cleveland Browns were sending running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts should raise some questions in Jacksonville.
The Browns, much like the Jaguars, are in the middle of a complete roster rebuild and to aid that effort they have secured a first round pick in 2014 in exchange for Richardson.
Would it be wise for the Jaguars to consider a similar deal for Maurice Jones-Drew?
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Jones-Drew is one of the best NFL running backs of the last decade, but his talents have largely been wasted in Jacksonville. Generally surrounded by a roster of sub-par talent, the Jaguars have only made the playoffs once during the seven seasons that he has been with the team.
Running backs in the NFL age quickly. The Jaguars are showing no signs of immediate improvement and Jones-Drew isn't getting any younger. Perhaps dealing him to a team that is relevant would be the best outcome for both the player and the organization. If the team could score a deal similar to the one Cleveland got, adding that extra first round pick could give the Jaguars precious ammunition to accelerate their rebuilding plans.
On the downside, Jones-Drew is perhaps the only legitimate star on the team. Casual fans, many of whom are already irritated that the Tim Tebow option isn't even on the table, might revolt at the idea of parting ways with their star running back.
It's also unclear if the Jaguars could even secure a top pick in any hypothetical trade. Richardson is five years younger than Jones-Drew and in the NFL, that makes a big difference.
The time for any trade, if it is being seriously considered, would likely be sometime later in the season when a banged up team with legitimate playoff hopes is in the market to restock for their postseason run.
Also, before contemplating a trade, there's little doubt that general manager David Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley will want to get Jones-Drew healthy and see how the team looks when all of their key offensive pieces are in place.
Starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert and veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis are still rehabbing injuries. Meanwhile, the team's top receiver, Justin Blackmon, is half-way through a four-game suspension for an off-season DUI.
Once Gabbert, Lewis, Blackmon and Jones-Drew are back on the field, the team may begin showing marked progress and Jones-Drew's potential value for 2014 will be the key consideration.