Chiefs RB Lands on Insider’s Short List of Trade Candidates to Watch

Ronald Jones

Getty Kansas City Chiefs running back Ronald Jones with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021.

The Kansas City Chiefs cutdown is looming and that means some tough decisions will have to be made.

One popular analyst and media suggestion has been trading running back Ronald Jones II. With Clyde Edwards-Helaire looking fit and healthy, Jerick McKinnon back, and rookie Isiah Pacheco way ahead of schedule, “RoJo” just feels like the odd man out.

Even after the Derrick Gore injury, is it worth keeping the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers starter in a reserve capacity? Going one step further, how willing would Jones be of such a role after three straight seasons of 100-plus carries and a Super Bowl ring in 2020?

Those are the questions that head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach must determine the answers to over the next couple of days.

Rapoport Throws Gasoline on the Fire

During an NFL Network update this afternoon on August 26, insider Ian Rapoport piled onto the trade speculation that’s currently surrounding Jones.

“Another player we’re keeping our eye on, Ronald Jones with the Kansas City Chiefs,” Rapoport told viewers. “Signed for just a million and a half dollars, due $500,000 guaranteed. We’ve seen the emergence of players such as Isiah Pacheco and of course, they have Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Played pretty well last night, might that be enough to keep him on the roster? Looking okay so far but stay tuned at a later date to see which way they end up [going].”

Although he didn’t provide an overwhelming amount of new information — or really any info that most fans didn’t already know — Rapoport mentioning Jones as one of three trade candidates to watch is huge news in itself.

This is one of the biggest insiders in the game we’re talking about and if he’s signaling out a player like this on live television, it’s usually not without reason. If any franchise is looking for an affordable running back on the trade market, it’d be hard to do better than a former second-round pick with productive championship experience.

Needless to say, with the 53-man deadline on Tuesday, the final verdict on this rumor should come within the next few days.

Encouraging Effort vs. Packers Could Save Jones

One of the contributing factors on Jones’ trade speculation has been his awful preseason form. The ball carrier flopped in the first two August outings but he finally put in a decent showing against the Green Bay Packers.

To be fair, Jones got more work than usual in the final audition, turning eight carries into 43 yards. That 5.4-yard clip led all Chiefs running backs for the night, despite Pacheco topping RoJo in total production (10 for 52, 5.2 per carry).

Jones also caught his only target for a four-yard gain.

Now, keep in mind that Edwards-Helaire and rookie RB/WR Jerrion Ealy did not receive any carries, but even Arrowhead Pride analyst Matt Stagner labeled Jones as one of five “winners” after the Packers game. He wrote:

It’s been a disappointing offseason for the guy who was supposed to help transform the team’s running game. But in two preseason games, Jones just hadn’t found any success with the Chiefs. But in the second drive against the Packers, Jones took the first handoff and broke off a punishing eight-yard run. He’d end the game behind rookie Isiah Pacheco in total yards and carries, but Thursday was clearly his best outing. It was the final audition he needed to have a chance at making the roster in Kansas City — or somewhere else.

Despite the progress, those last three words tell you all you need to know. “Or somewhere else.” No one is ultra-confident in KC keeping Jones right now.

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