Good things come to those who wait, says free agent running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Maybe not in those exact words, but according to Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post, who cited a source with information that MJD will be willing to wait on the market until a team is willing to pay him his alleged target salary of $3 million.
A few things stand out here. First, considering the running backs market is especially cool, waiting is likely his only choice. That does not mean, however, waiting will ensure he gets to that price. After other desired running backs have signed, like LaGarrette Blount and Knowshon Moreno, Jones-Drew will likely pigeon-hole himself somewhere around their value, whether they reach $3 million a season or not.
Second, it seems to be an indirect message to the Steelers, who will clear roughly $8 million in cap space after June 1, when the contract of LaMarr Woodley is cleared off their 2014 books. Whether the Steelers would pay a back-up roughly four times what their starter, Le'Veon Bell, will make this year is another matter.
Lastly, the decision to wait would be tantamount to saying he'll wait for an injury or something else to a starting running back before making a decision now to accept less money as a back-up. That's a valid idea, but it also hurts him from a leverage standpoint. It's as if he's saying "I want to be a starter," more than "I want $3 million." Both would obviously be ideal.
The Steelers are allegedly in the running for the running back, the price will be the biggest hurdle. A report early Tuesday suggests the Steelers will sign an "experienced running back" by the end of this week.