The Dallas Cowboys have announced the signing of Ronald Jones during the 2023 NFL free agency period. This move comes after the Cowboys applied the franchise tag to Pro Bowl halfback Tony Pollard and released former two-time NFL rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys are betting on Jones’ potential as a young, healthy, and productive player.
Jones was a second-round pick out of USC by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018. He is only 25 years old and has experience in the league, which makes him a valuable addition to the Cowboys’ running back corps. Jones will join Pollard and Rico Dowdle, who has returned to the team as an unrestricted free agent after initially being a restricted free agent.
The Cowboys’ decision to bring Jones to Texas is also somewhat of a homecoming as he was initially wooed out of McKinney, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, to play college football at USC. He also has two Super Bowl rings, having won one with the Buccaneers and another in 2022 with the Kansas City Chiefs. Jones’ experience with winning cultures makes him a valuable asset to the Cowboys, who have one of the youngest and most talented locker rooms in the NFL.
Jones spent his entire four-year rookie contract with the Bucs, but he joined the Chiefs as a free agent in March 2022. Though he was only activated for six games, it’s important to note that he was highly productive in Tampa in his younger days. Jones delivered a career season in 2020, totaling 1,143 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns. Over the course of 2019 through 2021, Jones combined for 2,668 scrimmage yards and 16 touchdowns.
The Cowboys are hoping to strike gold with Jones on an inexpensive deal that carries low risk but potentially high reward. They’ve been making moves like these lately, such as acquiring Malik Hooker, Jayron Kearse, and Dante Fowler. Jones’ young age is also a significant factor in the Cowboys’ decision to sign the running back.
Adding Jones to the mix also provides the Cowboys with insurance at the running back position ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft. Plus, there’s ready-made competition for Malik Davis, who is an impressive young talent not far removed from being the most durable and productive version of himself at the pro level.
It’s clear that the Cowboys are trying to shake things up in 2023 as they’ve parted ways with Elliott and brought in younger players like Jones. One thing is for sure: competition will be fierce in the running back room at AT&T Stadium this year.