NFL.com recently reported that Maurice Jones-Drew is open to being traded due to a lengthy hold out between him and the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Detroit Lions are one of four teams that “should be” interested in Jones Drew. With that said, would Jones Drew be a good fit in Detroit?
First of all, the odds of Jones-Drew being traded are slim at this point; the Jaguars have all the leverage over Jones-Drew as he is under contract for two more seasons. This means that if he holds out he’s loosing money. What’s most likely to happen in this situation is both sides lower their demands and come to an agreement early in the season. However, the Jaguars’ team owner Shad Khan’s comments on Jones-Drew make this situation murky, and opened up media speculation on where Jones-Drew will be dealt.
If Jones-Drew was really going to be traded, it would be hard to argue with the Lions if they chose to pursue him — he has been one of the most consistent and dominant backs in the NFL for the last three seasons, not to mention he is in the prime of his career. However, acquiring Jones-Drew would be a difficult task for the Lions as they would likely have to give up multiple high draft picks and satisfy Jones-Drew with a new contract. While giving up draft picks is a high cost, the contract of Jones-Drew might be more of a burden as the Lions have Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh, and Calvin Johnson tying up most of their funds.
It’s possible the Lions could squeeze in another expensive contract in Jones-Drew, especially with the cap number rising over the next few years, but how could the Lions afford to keep other key players on the roster or breakout stars that might be on the current roster?
Those questions might be irrelevant if the Lions’ front office decides that Jones-Drew will push the roster to greatness. Especially since getting the team to go from “good” to “great” has been the off season goal for the Lions.
Trading for Jones-Drew would immediately make the Lions a better team, but it could be a costly risk for a team on the rise, especially with all the questions still surrounding Mikel Leshoure. What if Leshoure turns out to be a dominant back that the Lions think he will be? What if Jones-Drew isn’t enough to get the Lions to the Super Bowl or he gets injured?
If the Lions’ Super Bowl window wasn’t so wide open I would suggest the Lions do as much as possible to acquire Jones-Drew. But for now, the risk/reward might not be worth it.