The Dallas Cowboys have ripped the proverbial band-aid off in terms of moving on from Ezekiel Elliott, who was released on the first day of the new league year with a post-June 1 designation to save $10.9 million on the salary cap.
Roughly 24 hours after they hosted Ronald Jones for a free agent visit, the Cowboys inked the two-time champ to a one-year deal.
Jones joins a backfield that includes Tony Pollard, who will play 2023 on the franchise tag if the two sides are unable to agree to terms on an extension before the July deadline, 2022 undrafted rookie Malik Davis and Rico Dowdle, who was re-signed Tuesday for a third season with the team.
It stands to reason that the Cowboys will draft a running back in April — how early remains to be seen — but Jones signing this early gives him a great chance to impress during the offseason program given Pollard will still be recovering from ankle surgery.
The Cowboys signed RB Ronald Jones to a one-year contract.
Still just 25 years old, Jones joins his third team since the Buccaneers drafted him in the second round of the 2019 cycle. He played sparingly with the Chiefs last season with rookie seventh-rounder Isiah Pacheco and fellow journeyman Jerick McKinnon cementing themselves as the two lead backs.
Jones’ best season came in 2019 when he was an integral part of the Buccaneers Super Bowl triumph. That year, he handled 192 carries for 978 yards and seven touchdowns, adding 28 catches for 165 yards and one touchdown as a receiver.
Much like Stephon Gilmore, whose entire family are diehard Cowboys fans, Jones, a graduate of McKinney North high school, grew up rooting for America’s Team. Check out this picture Jones’ mom showed the Dallas media after the interview.
That’s just an added bonus to what is a great signing on paper. At just 25 years old, Jones should have fresh legs after he logged 17 carries with Kansas City in 2022. The USC product only tallied 101 carries the year prior, so Jones as little wear and tear on his tires relative to most sixth-year running backs.
Jones could end up as Dallas’ No. 2 back behind Pollard depending how the draft unfolds, so don’t underestimate the significance of this move. That obviously won’t happen if the Cowboys draft Bijan Robinson in Round1, but Jones has an excellent chance to see meaningful snaps for the first time since 2021.
The best Cowboys offseason in recent memory keeps chugging along.