Figuring out the main backup to Tony Pollard is one of the Cowboys' biggest priorities this preseason. Heading into his first year as a full-time starter and coming off of a major leg injury, Dallas needs to ensure it has a player (or two) capable of helping Pollard out.
One potential RB2 option the team signed this offseason was Ronald Jones. With past starting experience and two Super Bowl rings to his name, Jones made sense as a low-cost target to possibly fill the void.
However, it's becoming increasingly apparent that Jones simply isn't worth a roster spot.
Ronald Jones Injury Update
It's difficult to vouch for Jones making the 53-man roster for several reasons, the most obvious of which is his upcoming suspension for the 2023 season.
Jones will be forced to missed the first two games of the campaign after violating the league's performance-enhancing substances policy. He can still participate in preseason practices and games before he goes on the shelf, which gives him a chance to make his case.
Now, though, he's dealing with an ankle injury as well. It's severe enough to where he'll miss some time, giving Dallas even fewer opportunities to evaluate his fit on this roster.
I think the Cowboys need to rip the band-aid off and end this experiment. What is there to gain from keeping a suspended/injured/journeyman RB around? It's not like Jones is a beleaguered star talent; he spent one full season as a starter and lost the job for underperforming down the stretch.
Dallas has built a roster with one goal in mind: the Super Bowl. They simply can't afford to mess around with a big need like RB2. There's not even any buzz that Jones is the man for the job, so this seems like a lot of trouble for someone who's not ultimately worth it.
The Cowboys put themselves at risk of missing out on a player who could make an actual impact by keeping Jones on the roster. I mean, this is a guy who played 2 total snaps for the Chiefs during their title run this past postseason. On a team with similar hopes, is he really going to pan out?
There are several intriguing RB options that won't be on the market for long as injuries and cuts happen across training camps. We all know Ezekiel Elliott is a legit red-zone weapon capable of punching in scoring opportunities. Dalvin Cook is still a star playmaker, though the Cowboys would need to research his off-the-field issues.
Leonard Fournette (who stole Jones' job in Tampa Bay and actually helped the Bucs win the Super Bowl) and Kareem Hunt are available as well. Plus there are veterans like Mark Ingram and J.D. McKissic, who are more known commodities.
It's not like Dallas is lacking RB2 candidates, either. Undrafted free agent Rico Dowdle has earned early praise while competing with the likes of incumbent Malik Davis and rookie Deuce Vaughn. Letting Jones go would allow the Cowboys to instead evaluate a veteran defender or offensive lineman, two groups that make up the foundations of this team's Super Bowl hopes.
Holding on to Jones at this point is just poor roster planning. I agree with taking the flyer, but the red flags that have popped up since are too difficult to ignore. Dallas needs to move on and make better use of the spot Jones is taking up right now.
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