Far too often fans are captivated by a superstar's name in the rumor mill. Whenever a player of any high stature even hints at the possibility of leaving, the world brainstorms the next best destination. Year after year in almost every sport, one athlete takes the world by storm with a simple voice of displeasure.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Maurice Jones-Drew.
Recently, Jaguars owner Shad Khan voiced his displeasure with the Jones-Drew contract situation. Jones-Drew and his agent Asida Bakari responded by opening up the possibility of a trade. With Jacksonville's star running back's name floating around the market, the Lions have been linked as a favorite.
Unfortunately with these occurrences, everybody leaps at the chance of bringing a star to their town. In the Lions' case, a bidding war for Jones-Drew is unnecessary and unlikely.
The three-time Pro Bowler is set to make $4.45 million this season and $4.95 million in 2013. After leading the NFL in rushing with 1,606 yards, Jones-Drew is in search of a long-term extension. Based on the production throughout his career, he's certainly worth that price tag, but not out of the Detroit Lions' pocket book.
After re-signing Calvin Johnson and Stephen Tulloch to long-term contracts this offseason, the Lions only have so much money to go around. More importantly, quarterback Matthew Stafford and tackle Ndamukong Suh will be looking for extensions as well. Based on Drew Brees' contract this summer, Stafford could make close to that range if he repeats his success of last season.
If the Lions engineered a trade for Jones-Drew, they wouldn't be capable of fulfilling his long-term hopes. The NFL isn't the league for renting players short-term to capture a title, that's suited for the NBA. If a team were to trade for Jones-Drew, it would have to be a team primed for a championship right away like the Patriots. The Lions are quite a few pieces away from a Super Bowl ring.
Speaking of those pieces, Jones-Drew doesn't fill any of those holes for Detroit. The Lions' running back position is a bit of a mystery with the questionable durability of Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure returning from a nasty Achilles tear. However, Leshoure and the depth of backs for the Lions are serviceable enough to help the Lions move forward.
Along with their pass-heavy offense, a superstar running back should be the last thing on the Lions' wish list. Unless Jones-Drew becomes a star safety or cornerback overnight, the Lions don't need him.
If Jones-Drew had another 1,600-yard season as a Lion but the defense still struggles, the investment doesn't pay off. Acquiring a player of his caliber equals "Super Bowl or bust" implications for Detroit. If the Lions continue to struggle on defense, Jones-Drew would get his money with no real guarantee of a championship breakthrough.
Jacksonville is making a huge mistake by not paying their best and most valuable player. However, the Lions shouldn't take the bait of pursuing Jones-Drew, and fans should simmer their hope for his arrival. It's highly unlikely the Lions will bring him on board, and it wouldn't equal immediate or long-term championship success.
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