NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Jets have their eyes on a good veteran running back, but will almost certainly have to outsmart two division rivals to get him.
The Jets are currently one of four teams to be interested in free agent Maurice Jones-Drew, the Daily News reported Monday.
Jones-Drew would be the perfect complement to incumbent Chris Ivory and would be an excellent pass-catching option out of the backfield. The only problem is Jones-Drew is also being pursued by the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers, the newspaper reported.
He could meet with the Jets by the end of the week.
It is believed Jones-Drew is looking for roughly $3.5 million per season, but it’s hard to say if John Idzik will meet his asking price when the Jets’ general manager has taken a hard-line stance on veteran players during free agency.
Idzik, who is said to assess a monetary value to all free agents and not deviate from that price, let many of the top players on the market, including cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and wide receiver James Jones, sign with other teams because, among other reasons, he didn’t feel like giving players nearing 30 long-term deals.
Jones-Drew, 29, might fit into the same category. However, he might also be viewed as an exception because his production over the years has been exemplary. Jones-Drew has rushed for 8,071 yards, hauled in 335 receptions and scored a total of 79 touchdowns in eight NFL seasons, all with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
While it’s true the three-time Pro Bowler averaged only 3.4 yards per carry last season, he was playing for one of the worst teams in the NFL. In all, he totaled 1,117 yards from scrimmage and had five touchdowns.
The Jets have stressed competition since Idzik arrived last summer and the infusion of a Jones-Drew to a backfield featuring injury-prone Ivory, overachieving Bilal Powell and Mike Goodson, who is coming off a season-ending injury, would certainly be an upgrade and add a new dimension to an offense that is striving for both explosiveness and balance.
The Jets are also rumored to be in hot pursuit of disgruntled Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who would slot in perfectly next to recently signed Eric Decker.