The Dallas Cowboys are signing veteran running back Ronald Jones II as the team looks to replace the production of Ezekiel Elliott heading into next season. DallasCowboys.com’s Patrik Walker noted that the franchise “liked” Jones following his March 20, 2023 workout with the team adding there would was “movement” towards the running back landing in Big D. Hours later, ESPN’s Todd Archer reported that the Cowboys’ deal with Jones was official.
“The Cowboys also liked the workout/visit with Ronald Jones on Monday so I expect there will be movement there as well,” Walker tweeted on March 20. “Focus last couple days: RB.”
Jones is a former highly touted prospect who the Bucs selected out of USC with the No. 38 overall pick in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft. The veteran spent his first four seasons with Tampa Bay before joining Kansas City last season.
Jones had 17 carries for 70 yards and one touchdown in six appearances with the Chiefs last season. The running back played sparingly in 2022 but was once a vital part of the Buccaneers offense. Jones’ best season came during the Bucs’ Super Bowl run in 2020 notching 192 carries for 978 yards and seven touchdowns. The playmaker also added 28 receptions for 165 yards and one TD through the air during the same breakout season.
The running back played on a one-year, $1.5 million contract last season with the Chiefs. Jones previously signed a four-year, $7 million rookie deal with the Buccaneers.
Could the Cowboys Target Texas Star RB Bijan Robinson at No. 26?
One popular name linked to the Cowboys in mock drafts is former Texas star rusher Bijan Robinson. These rumors have only gained traction following the release of Elliott. It remains to be seen whether Robinson will be available when Dallas is on the clock at No. 26.
Robinson is coming off career-high numbers in nearly every major statistical category. The playmaker notched 258 carries for 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns in 12 appearances for the Longhorns in 2022. Robinson also displayed his effectiveness in the passing game adding 19 receptions for 314 yards and 2 TDs. CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco is one of several analysts that has the Cowboys landing Robinson at No. 26 in his latest mock draft.
“With Zeke Elliott gone, they need another power runner to handle the tough carries,” Prisco wrote on March 21. “Tony Pollard is coming off a broken leg, so there is concern with him, and he’s playing on a one-year deal. After getting Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore in a trade, they can opt for the luxury of taking a back.”
The Cowboys Spent a Lot of Time ‘Evaluating Running Backs’ During the NFL Combine: Report
Where there is smoke there is usually fire, as the Robinson buzz may be more than just speculation in mock drafts. The Athletic’s Jon Machota reported that Dallas was “spending a lot of time at the combine evaluating running backs.”
The signing of Jones is unlikely to prevent the Cowboys from addressing the position again in the draft. It is worth noting that Dallas could wait until the mid-to-late rounds to select a running back as the 2023 class appears to be particularly deep.
“The Cowboys were spending a lot of time at the combine evaluating running backs,” Machota detailed on March 20. “Expect them to draft one as early as the 26th overall pick. Texas’ Bijan Robinson is considered to be the best in the class. He would definitely be a possibility for the Cowboys if still available at 26.
“But an impactful running back could also be added in the middle of the draft. Pollard was a fourth-round pick. DeMarco Murray, who has the franchise’s single-season rushing record, was a third-round pick. When Mike McCarthy was head coach in Green Bay, the Packers drafted Aaron Jones in the fifth round in 2017.”