Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Winning? Jones-Drew opted for Raiders over Patriots


Maurice Jones-Drew apparently had a few teams to choose from last week before surrendering his free agent card.

One of them was the New England Patriots. Another was the Pittsburgh Steelers. The one he went with? The Oakland Raiders.

According to ESPN Boston, Jones-Drew revealed the trio of finalists Wednesday during an interview on Mad Dog Sports Radio. The veteran running back signed a three-year deal reportedly with $7.5 million with Oakland.

Let's put it this way: Winning didn't rule the day during his decision.

The Oakland Raiders haven't had recorded a winning record since 2002 and have won more than five games just twice in that span. The Raiders have stunk for a while.

During that same timeframe, the Patriots and Steelers have combined for seven Super Bowl appearances and four Super Bowl victories.

But let's give Jones-Drew the benefit of the doubt, at least in terms of the Patriots. Maybe he didn't feel he'd be able to contribute enough to a tailback corps that already boasts a bonafide 1-2 punch in Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley.

Then again, LeGarrette Blount seemed to do just fine in that role, as Vereen has proven he's far from an ironman, and Ridley has occasional issues holding onto the ball. New England needs a third back for depth, competition and change of pace.

Jones-Drew would've been a fit. The Patriots, however, likely weren't going to pony up the same kind of cash Oakland did.

With that, they're still in the market for a running back and met with free agent Michael Bush, a former Raider and Chicago Bears alum, Tuesday. Bush is actually a more intriguing prospect than Jones-Drew, given he has a similar running style to Blount.

That situation should sort itself out in the coming days, and if all else fails, New England is expected to target the position in the draft, regardless.

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