Jacksonville Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said Tuesday that he doesn't envision re-signing running back Maurice Jones Drew and will let the three-time Pro Bowler test free agency.
According to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com, Caldwell said MJD has "earned the right" to test the market this offseason but that ultimately the team will decide whether to match any offers he may receive, adding that he's not "pessimistic" about Jones-Drew finding potentially greater value elsewhere for next year when the free agency period officially begins in March.
"I think he'll leave that up to his representation in terms of finding him the best value for his deal. I'm not pessimistic at all about it. I think he's earned the right to go to free agency. He's been a great player in this organization and he's had a great career and I think he's earned the right to go see what his value and his market is. It's our right to decide if we want to match it and bring him back."
Jones-Drew, 28, has rushed for 8,071 yards in his eight seasons with the team and holds the franchise record for touchdowns (81). He has said that he wants to finish his career in Jacksonville but admitted that the decision of whether to leave for another team will ultimately come down to money, although he would not quantify that statement with an actual dollar amount in terms of how much he is seeking. This past season was the final year of deal that paid him $4.95 million for the year.
Team officials have said they want him back but if he returns he will likely share the ball for carries moreso than in the past. He is coming off a season in which he ran for 803 yards and five touchdowns but also averaged a career low 3.4 yards per carry.
The Jaguars finished the season 4-12, ahead of only the Houston Texans for the worst record in the AFC South. He has spent his entire career with the Jaguars after being selected by the team in the 2006 NFL Draft.