The Oakland Raiders continue to execute their free agency plan by agreeing to terms with running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Oakland was in need of help at running back and they hope to have found it with Jones-Drew, who is from California and attended high school and college in the area. He and Darren McFadden will be the primary ball carriers for 2014.
ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting, per a source, the deal is expected to be done for three years.
Jones-Drew is coming off two of his worst seasons as a professional. A foot injury in 2012 suffered against the Raiders cost him 10 games. He came back to start 15 games in 2013, but did not have the second gear that made him an effective back in the past. It did not help that the Jacksonville Jaguars were the 31st ranked rushing team in the league last season averaging only 79 yards per game. In 2013, Jones Drew carried 234 times for 803 yards and five touchdowns. His 3.4 yards per carry average was the worst of his career by far. McFadden averaged 3.3 the last two seasons for the Raiders, so both will need to step up.
The hope for Oakland is that both McFadden and Jones-Drew will be playing behind a revamped offensive line. The Raiders added three starters this offseason to an already good run blocking line. The Raiders finished last season with a very solid rushing attack averaging 125 yards per game. The other benefit to Jones-Drew and McFadden is they will be able to take pressure off each other while splitting carries. Both will be able to stay fresher and save their legs and body from the NFL pounding.
Jones-Drew has shown ability. In a three year span from 2009-2011, he rushed for more than 1,300 yards in each season. He has amassed 68 touchdowns in his eight year career. The 29-year-old Jones Drew will have to prove he still has something left in the tank to help the Raiders.
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