Maurice Jones-Drew isn't greedy or selfish. He's smart.
I really don't understand all the disapproval aimed at MJD, 36 days into his contract holdout. (Okay, if you own him in a keeper league I do.) But he's doing the right thing.
Change to Spare
The Jaguars don't want to pay, despite the fact that they can afford it: According to a report on NFL.com, the Jaguars had the most salary cap cash of any team in the NFL as of July 1. I'm guessing MJD read this report. I'm also guessing he noticed that the Jags gave the vastly inferior player Laurent Robinson 5 years and $32 million, with $14 million guaranteed.
Speaking of Change
The 2012 Jacksonville Jaguars are a team in transition. They have a new owner, Shahid Khan. They have a new head coach, Mike Mularkey. They have a rookie wide receiver, Justin Blackmon, with question marks and a second-year quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, who was sacked 40 times last season.
Gabbert was elevated to starter when the Jags abruptly and unexpectedly cut a veteran player, David Garrard, to make room for the younger guy, something I am sure Jones-Drew noticed. The Jags were ranked 32nd in passing offense last year, but 12th in rushing. Most of the swagger for that latter ranking belongs to MJD.
Keeping Up With The Jones(-Drew)es
Maurice is 27 years old, an age when running backs tend to begin their career decline, as pointed out by B/R's Ty Schalter. (Among others.) He's due to make $4.5 million this year and $5 million next year. He reportedly wants a deal more like the one Matt Forte just signed with the Chicago Bear: Four years, $32 million, with $17 million of that in guaranteed money. It is reasonable to say Forte and MJD are comparable players. But DeAngelo Williams and Marshawn Lynch (and Laurent Robinson) have similar deals, and none are in Jones-Drew's class.
Matter of Time
History tells us that this is Jones-Drew's last peak year before he begins to decline. I assure you that the Jaguars will point this out two years from now, if MJD plays out his existing contract. And if he gets hurt, and can't come back, they will wave goodbye to him without a second thought.
Since there is a 100 percent chance that Jacksonville will not take years of loyalty into account if and when it is time to renew Jones-Drew's deal according to the contract's timetable, MJD is right to unilaterally move the timetable up. The team would cut him without hesitation if he underperformed on his below-market-value contract.
He is right be equally ruthless in cutting them for refusing to pony up as he has been overperforming for years.