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Insider

How long will MJD's holdout last?

7/30/2012

Adam Schefter answers reader questions in his mailbag twice a week. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.


Q: Adam, how long do you think Maurice Jones-Drew's holdout will go on? Will he miss preseason or regular season games? The Jacksonville Jaguars' offense would be scary bad without him.

-- Ian (Mississippi)

A: Eventually all these holdouts end, Ian, and this one will, too. But my sense right now, a few days into camp, is that it will go on into the summer. Jones-Drew is very proud and determined. He led the league in rushing last season, has amassed more than 1,300 yards every season since 2009, and is the Jaguars' most popular and productive player. I know the Jaguars redid his deal in 2009, but in the final two years of the deal, Jones-Drew is expected to make an average of $4.7 million per season. Jacksonville just gave its new free-agent wide receiver Laurent Robinson a deal that averages $6.5 million per season. Who has been and continues to be more important to Jacksonville? The Jaguars have made their stance known, with owner Shad Khan and general manager Gene Smith insisting they will not redo Jones-Drew's deal. Such a strong public stance isn't going to help the situation any -- and likely will make it worse. Again, these things always find a way of working themselves out, and this one will, too. I just don't think it's going to be anytime soon.


Q: With Peyton Manning looking good so far in training camp, what are realistic expectations for the Denver Broncos this season? Are they Super Bowl contenders?

-- Jarvis (Nevada)

A: Looking good through a few days of practice is not unexpected, Jarvis. It's not like people were going to watch Manning and say, "He really doesn't look good." He looks good enough. He will be Peyton Manning-like and make the right throws in the right places at the right times. He won't make many mistakes. He won't be able to make a few of the throws he used to, primarily on certain long passes, but he still will be one of the top quarterbacks in the game. And if he is, there's no reason Denver can't contend in the AFC. But first it has to get out of its own division, and there are some pretty competitive teams there.


Q: Do you think Rob Gronkowski will have another exceptional season like he did last year? Or will defenses key in on him and Aaron Hernandez more?

-- Luke (Colorado)

A: Well, Luke, Gronk was the best tight end in the league last season. It will be hard to duplicate what he did last season, which really is something no other tight end had done before. He had 17 touchdown catches and 1,327 receiving yards. We'd never seen any tight end have those kind of numbers. For that reason, it's hard to see Gronkowski doing the same thing again. I think he'll have a good season, but it's hard to imagine another record-breaking season. And with defenses keying on Gronkowski that much more, it should open up things for Hernandez. My sense would be that this season, Gronkowski's numbers drop a bit (which isn't saying much) and Hernandez's rise.


Q: Jahvid Best has had major concussion problems since college. Do you think the Lions will split his carries to avoid another serious problem? Also say he does get hurt or they do split carries, who do you think the backup will be, Kevin Smith or Mikel Leshoure (when healthy)?

-- Spencer (Florida)

A: Detroit already has seen that it never can have enough running backs, Spencer. The Lions saw it last season, and they hope they're more prepared this season. They're hoping Best can make it back, but it's unrealistic to expect him to be the every-down back. Even if he does play, they're going to need help from Smith and Leshoure. And remember, Leshoure is suspended for the first two games of the season already. My guess would be that Leshoure will have more carries this season than any other Detroit back, but the Lions know they need to get added production this season from whoever is running the football.