25 Mar 2014 10:07 AM EST
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Maurice Jones-Drew has rushed for 8,071 yards and 68 touchdowns. (Image Source: Don McPeak/USA TODAY Sports)
While the New York Jets are debating the pluses and minuses of acquiring wide receiver DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles, they are also considering free agent running back Maurice Jones-Drew according to the New York Daily News.
They need weapons on offense, at receiver, at tight end, and at running back.
In his first year with the Jets, Chris Ivory had a strong season, rushing for 833 yards and averaging 4.6 yards per carry. However, he’s never been a feature back in the traditional sense. His 182 carries last season were a career-high, as were his 15 games. In the previous two seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Ivory played in just 12 games combined (119 rushes).
The addition of Jones-Drew would bump the very average Bilal Powell (3.9 carrier yards per carry average) to third on the depth chart. MJD isn’t the same runner that topped 1,300 yards rushing for three straight seasons from 2009 to 2011, including the rushing title in 2011. However, if he remains healthy he’d be considered an upgrade and very solid number-two option.
The Jets offense would also welcome Jones-Drew’s pass-catching skills. The UCLA product has caught at least 40 passes in six of his eight seasons as a pro. General manager John Idzik signed Mike Goodson to be New York’s change of pace back and a receiving weapon last offseason, but the free agent addition was a disaster.
Limited by a suspension and an injury, Goodson played in just two games in 2013 and he remains a potential cap casualty if the Jets add another runner to the backfield. While MJD doesn’t have Goodson’s speed, he would immediately become the Jets top weapon coming out of the backfield.
According to The News report, the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers will be competing with the Jets for MJD’s services. Jones-Drew visited Pittsburgh last week. The 29-year old running back and his team are expected to meet with courting clubs at the NFL team meetings this week.
CBS Sports reported a week ago that MJD would be looking for a contract paying $3.5 million per year, however it is believed the veteran running back will likely have to settle for less. He averaged a pedestrian 3.4 yards per carry last season and missed 10 games due to injury in 2012.
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.