Maurice Jones-Drew will hit the free agent market this NFL offseason and fantasy owners everywhere should get excited! The 5'7 running back is 28 years old and still has some years left. From his rookie season in 2006 until 2011, he rushed for 6854 yards, including 3 straight 1000+ seasons. He scored 62 rushing touchdowns over that span and caught 278 passes for 10 more scores, totaling 72 TDs over 6 seasons! Then in 2012 he played in just 6 games and this season averaged just 3.4 yards per carry, but did score 5 times. The Jacksonville Jaguars are terrible and getting MJD out of there is great news.
But where will he go? The NFL is littered with a few elite backs, and numerous running back by committees (RBBC). Well there is one team in desperate need of an every down back and that is the Cleveland Browns. But let's pretend like they dont' exist because he might as well stay with the Jaguars if he signs in Cleveland. The Oakland Raiders are an interesting fit as he did go to UCLA, and Darren McFadden is going to be a FA as well. However, at this point in MJD's career, you would have to imagine he wants to play for a winning team.
I know the Indianapolis Colts just traded a 1st round pick for Trent Richardson, but let's be honest here. It is clear he is not an every down back in the NFL. Richardson and MJD would be a perfect fit and work well for Andrew Luck. Remember how good Eli Manning was with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw? This is a dream come true for Colts fans and fantasy football fans!
The Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals are two organizations trying to figure out what to do in the backfield. The Dolphins gave Lamar Miller a season to figure things out and just once did he rush for 100 yards and scored just twice, both by Week 4. Daniel Thomas saw about 70 less carries this season and totaled 6 TDs including 2 on receptions. Neither back was very active in the pass game.
Could be an every down back in Miami, but might miss out on being involved in the passing game. Or....could give the Dolphins what they missed this season, and give Ryan Tannehill another offensive weapon. I like the potential here.
As for the Arizona Cardinals, Rashard Mendenhall will also be a free agent, leaving the job to Andre Ellington. Ellington became more involved in the second half of the season, seeing double digit carries in 6 of the Cardinals last 8 games. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry and scored 3 rushing TDs. He did catch 39 passes and had 1023 total yards, which is why I like MJD as a Cardinal. However, Ellington is worthy of a starting gig and Arizona's ownership owes it to him! The Cardinals are better off adding Ben Tate.
So where do you see Maurice Jones-Drew next season?