The Dallas Cowboys are moving on from veteran running back Ronald Jones II. The news comes after Jones served a two-game suspension that allowed him to not count against the 53-man roster at the beginning of the season. The Cowboys opted to release Jones instead of cutting another player to make room for him.
“Ronald Jones has been released by the Cowboys,” DallasCowboys.com’s Patrik Walker tweeted on September 18.
The move came as the Cowboys (2-0) prepare for a September 24 road game against the Arizona Cardinals (0-2).
Jones’ preseason did not go as expected because he battled injuries and then landed a two-game suspension to start the regular season. Cowboys veteran Rico Dowdle won the RB2 spot behind Tony Pollard, and rookie playmaker Deuce Vaughn has been involved in the offense as well. Running back/fullback hybrid Hunter Luepke has also served a unique role for Dallas.
Here is a breakdown of the running back snap count for Week 2, per FootballGuys.com: Pollard (64%), Dowdle (21%), Luepke (21%) and Vaughn (15%).
Cowboys Could Re-Sign Ronald Jones to the Practice Squad
The move does not necessarily mean Jones’ future with the Cowboys is over. Jones, 26, is not subject to waivers, Walker wrote, and the veteran could re-sign with the team on a practice squad deal.
“I had a thought earlier today that I shared with @NickHarrisDC over lunch, prior to the release by the Cowboys,” Walker added on Twitter. “Instead of moving someone to add him to the 53, release him and add him to the practice squad.
“There’s a vacant seat there alongside Malik Davis. More RB depth. 🤔”
Ronald Jones Failed to Win the Dallas Cowboys RB2 Role in Training Camp
Jones, now in his sixth season, does have a history of being an impact player. The running back is two seasons removed from posting a career-high 192 carries for 978 yards and 7 touchdowns in 14 appearances during the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl run in 2020. Last season, Jones played just 6 games for the Chiefs notching 70 rushing yards and a touchdown.
After the Cowboys signed Jones over the offseason, there was some thought the veteran could help Pollard carry the load in the backfield after the franchise replaced Ezekiel Elliott. This backup role now appears to be shared between Dowdle and Vaughn. If Jones re-signs on the team’s practice squad, the veteran could still work his way into the rotation but would likely need an unfortunate injury at the position to once again crack the rotation.
Cowboys Have Been Able to Lean on a Dominant Defense
Through the first two weeks, Dallas has been able to lean on its dominant defense, which looks like one of the top units in the league. Head coach Mike McCarthy is still pleased with the offensive performance even if it is the defense that is getting a lot of the attention.
“Yeah, I just think we’ve had time to look at the past, learn from it. But this is a new year,” McCarthy explained to reporters on September 17. “Every week’s a new challenge. This was a huge challenge for us.
“We had a lot of moving parts on our offensive line, just really proud of our young players. To go in there and keep it going in the four-minute mode type offense. But he [Prescott] took some hits out there which we knew was going to be part of this game. But I thought he played with really good patience, really good patience and that’s what you got to do against a defense of that caliber.”