The Dallas Cowboys signed running back Ronald Jones this offseason but his stay with the team may not be long.
The Cowboys signed Jones in March, giving them a veteran option after Ezekiel Elliott was released in a cap-saving move. But Jones is far from a sturdy option to fill the “thunder” role behind Tony Pollard on the depth chart.
CowboysWire has Jones listed as a “cut-cut” candidate, meaning he’s at the top of the list of players who will be let go. Duece Vaughn and Hunter Luepke were listed as “pretty sure he makes it,” while Malik Davis and Rico Dowdle were dubbed as cut/practice squad candidates.
“Many folks think Jones is destined for the roster to have a veteran presence on it aside from Pollard. That makes a ton of sense, I just don’t think Jones is it,” K.D. Drummond of CowboysWire wrote. “This configuration may change if they acquire another veteran back somewhere along the process but if not, I have no qualms.
Cowboys Have Expressed Confidence in Ronald Jones
Jones is a two-time Super Bowl champ, winning a pair of titles with the Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was much more integral during the Bucs run, finishing the year as their leading rusher. Jones’ best year was in 2020 when he rushed for 978 yards and seven touchdowns with a 5.1-yard-per-carry average.
Jones got very limited work last year with the Chiefs, registering 17 carries for 70 yards. Despite that, the Cowboys are bullish on the idea that Jones can be a contributor.
“He’s an NFL quality back,” Cowboys’ vice president of player personnel Will McClay said. “His run style fits what we do. He’s young enough to continue to grow and add something to us. And, again, we’re adding an experienced back that knows what it’s like in the NFL, that fits the system well, and he’s got some upside to be able to be a three-down back and some of those things.”
Jones is excited to be part of the equation in the backfield and believes he can make a difference.
“Just seeing the run they made last year,” Jones said after signing. “Being one game away from being a step to the Super Bowl — I think they’re right there at the hump and, hopefully, I can be a part that helps them get over that hump.”
Tony Pollard Embracing Lead Back Role With Cowboys
When the Cowboys parted ways with Elliott, they officially handed the lead-back role to Pollard. It was a well-deserved upgrade. Pollard made the Pro Bowl last season after recording 1,007 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. He added 371 yards and three more touchdowns catching the ball.
“I mean it’s been a lot,” Pollard told Action News 5 in Memphis. “Getting a lot more opportunities, you know being able to show what I can do for the team. Now them believing in me, being the starting back, so I’m just ready for the opportunity.
“You know them noticing the hard work I’ve been putting in over the years, making the most of my opportunity and them believing in me, it means a lot.”
The Cowboys used the franchise tag this offseason on Pollard and will be working on a long-term contract going forward.