Ezekiel Elliott will suit up for another team in 2023, and that means there's a vacancy at RB for the Cowboys, who are rolling the dice on a young, healthy and once highly productive Jones
FRISCO, TX – A new face is heading to the running backs locker room in North Texas, and its name is Ronald Jones. Having applied the franchise tag to Pro Bowl halfback Tony Pollard before opting to release former two-time NFL rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys are adding Jones to the roster during 2023 NFL free agency.
Jones, a former second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018, is still just 25 years old but brings experience to the position in tandem with Pollard; and he'll be joined by a familiar face in Rico Dowdle who began the offseason a restricted free agent but went untendered by the Cowboys (making him an unrestricted free agent who has chosen to return).
It will be Dowdle's fourth year with the club after joining as an undrafted free agent in 2020.
For Jones, once a top talent at USC after having been wooed out of McKinney, TX — only 20 minutes or so northeast of downtown Dallas where he played high school football — this is also a bit of a homecoming.
Additionally, he's also a two-time Super Bowl champion, earning one with the Buccaneers and another in 2022 with the Kansas City Chiefs, so it's safe to say he's seen what a winning culture looks like and, like incoming cornerback Stephon Gilmore, can inject that knowledge into one of the youngest, but also one of the most talented, locker rooms in the league.
After spending the entirely of his four-year rookie contract with the Bucs, Jones made his way to the Chiefs as a free agent last March, and though he was activated for only six games in all, it's key to remember what he was able to produce at the height of his young career in Tampa — delivering a career season in 2020 that included 1,143 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns.
From 2019 through 2021, Jones combined for 2,668 yards from scrimmage and 16 TDs.
That said, it's not difficult to ascertain why the Cowboys feel he's worth a look on an inexpensive deal that carries low risk but a potentially high-reward, a formula they've begun mastering as of late (e.g., Malik Hooker, Jayron Kearse, Dante Fowler, etc.).
Did I mention he's still just 25 years old?
Because he is.
Adding Jones also gives the Cowboys insurance against what may or may not occur in the 2023 NFL Draft at the position, along with ready-made competition for an impressive young[er] talent in Malik Davis who isn't far removed from being the most productive, and durable, version of himself at the professional level.