Maurice Jones-Drew to Denver… For The Right Price

“Of course you make a move,” they say. “Willis McGahee has a ton of mileage, he’s getting up there in age, and you just can’t rely on him for 25 carries a game.”

“There’s no choice.”

The conversation, of course, is about the Broncos, and whether they should trade for Jacksonville star/malcontent Maurice Jones-Drew, a running back of much talent and ability who is suddenly on the trading block due to a contract dispute with Jaguars’ management. And on its face, it seems like a tantalizing possibility.

Pairing the untackle-able bowling ball of a runner with Peyton Manning’s effective passing in Denver would certainly give the team a leg-up on the rest of the division, give them an honest-to-blog threat in the backfield, and give them the first legitimate number one runner since Tim Thibault left town. All of this sounds nice.

Until you actually look at it. I mean, look at it!

His stats are impressive. 1600 yards last year to lead the league, 1300 in each of the two seasons before that. And this was on a bad football team, one which didn’t find itself padding a lot of leads with the running game late in the fourth quarter.

But look at it again. How many carries in the last three years? Nearly 1,000. These aren’t highway miles either; these are legit, through the middle of the line and getting beat to shit carries that really roll that odometer up.

Is it really smart to trade legitimate assets — getting him to Denver would probably require a first or second round pick, maybe a first and a fourth or a second and a third — for a guy with that much recent mileage on his odometer?

Is it really smart to trade those assets for someone who has already missed almost all of training camp, leaving him to play his way into shape during the season and probably not hitting his stride til week four or five at the earliest?

Look once more at his stats. 1600 yards last year… and eight touchdowns. Eight! He’s not a goal-line threat, which is what we need. He’s a strong receiver out of the backfield, so I’m sure Manning would be on board with that, but he only had three more touchdowns in the passing game.

If we want to keep him after next year, we’d have to shell out a massive contract on par with what teams have given backs like Chris Johnson. Would we be able to do that? Would we even want to? Vincent Casablancas once wrote that teams who pay for past performance often live to regret it.

Would trading a first for MoJo Drew look good on paper? Yes.

The question we should really be asking is whether he’s a need… or an unnecessary luxury.

Now, if the asking price could be lowered, say, to a third round pick and Denver burnout Knowshow Knowshon Moreno, it’s a different discussion altogether. You go from moving a legitimate piece of the future Broncos’ puzzle to moving a guy who has shown flashes but never met his potential and could benefit from a new scene. Burying him out of the division is a good thing, as cutting Knowshon could result in him going to San Diego to continue haunting us. The Jagwads get a running back to coach up, a third round pick to play with, and the Broncos get Jones-Drew.

Now that would be worth it.

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