Contract Forecast: Maurice Jones-Drew
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Contract Forecast: Maurice Jones-Drew

It's no surprise that the Jacksonville Jaguars find themselves near the bottom of the standings in 2013, as the initial roster - before injuries set in, wasn't built to succeed. But the constant through plenty of tough years has been running back Maurice Jones-Drew, whose 5 year $31.1 million contract is set to expire after the 2013 season. With the decline of the running back, and the lack of winning in Jacksonville combined, much has been lost in translation for the 8 year veteran as he nears free agency.

We'll evaluate the 28 year old Jones-Drew statistically, comparing him to other backs of a similar age and production to generate a forecast for his current value going forward.
Comparable Running Backs
Hardy just turned 25 (July 28th), the standard age for sophomore contracts to be signed. To determine a more likely starting point for our numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of each contract breakdown listed below.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Age When Signed
Reggie Bush 4 $16,000,000 $4,000,000 28
DeAngelo Williams 5 $43,000,000 $8,600,000 28
Frank Gore 4 $25,900,000 $6,475,000 28
Steven Jackson 3 $12,000,000 $4,000,000 30
Averages 4.25 $23,248,000 $6,056,250 28.5

Note: A linear regression is a formula that plots the provided points of data for Length and Value of the contracts, and then generates the best-fit line for those points, resulting in a "slope" value that translates to an average annual salary.

View the list of Top Average Paid Running Backs in the NFL

Because Jones-Drew (28) is younger than Jackson at the time of his signing, we'll adjust the above contract down to his age by adding to the overall years. Once a linear regression is performed on these new numbers we're given the following terms to begin with:

Length Value Avg. Salary (slope)
4 $26,662,068 $6,665,517
Statistical Analyzations, Prime Percentage
Now let's analyze these players statistically in the year prior to signing their second contract by showing Games Played, Sacks, Tackles, Solo Stops, and Penalites.
Player Games Rush Att/G Rush Yds/G Rush TD/G FUM/G REC/G REC YDS/G REC TD/G
Reggie Bush (2011-12, MIA) 15.5 14.32 67.19 .39 .26 2.52 18.97 .1
DeAngelo Williams (2009-10, CAR) 15.5 15.95 77.79 .42 .21 2.11 16.47 0
Frank Gore (2009-10, SF) 15.5 17.28 78.92 .52 .32 3.92 34.32 .2
Steven Jackson (2011-12, STL) 15.5 16.68 70.55 .29 .06 2.58 21.1 .03
Averages 13.25 16.05 73.6 .405 .2125 2.78 22.7 .0825
Maurice Jones-Drew (2011-12, JAC) 11 19.5 91.82 .41 .36 2.59 20.91 .18
% Difference -20% 18% 20% 1% -42% -7% -9% 55%
OVERALL PRIME % 16%
Our results here show that MJD, as a complete running back, actually exceeds the production of our variable players. His dip in games played is somewhat deceiving, as his durability has been great prior to last season, playing 93 out of 96 games through 2011. The only other area of concern, well documented, is his inability to hang onto the football. We'll factor his strong Prime Percentage of 16%, into our previously determined base numbers.
Results

Length of the Contract
At 28, MJD is in the last year of "significant contracts" for running backs based on our previous numbers. Our base mathematics averaged out to a 4 year contract, so we'll stay with that.

Value of the Contract
Running backs are as tough to predict as any position in the league right now, as their average pay has decreased significantly over the past 3 seasons. But Maurice Jones-Drew has been durable, and consistent - albeit in a losing franchise, and his value in free agency should remain feasbily strong.

Spotrac's Prediction: 4 years, $30,927,999
  •  Average annual salary: $7,731,999

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