Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians ruled out a midseason trade of running back Ronald Jones II.
"No, none at all," Arians told reporters regarding any interest in dealing the 24-year-old ball-carrier. "It’s a long season, and just that scenario that happened last year and still with COVID, you can’t have enough good backs."
With the NFL's Nov. 2 trade deadline right around the corner, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported outside suitors were "monitoring" Jones' availability:
Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero
The NFL trade deadline is 15 days away, and with running back injuries mounting, teams are monitoring veteran RBs, including the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bucs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bucs</a>’ Ronald Jones and the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Colts?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Colts</a>’ Marlon Mack. <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nflnetwork</a> <a href="https://t.co/VVQdtStajM">pic.twitter.com/VVQdtStajM</a>
Jones was Tampa Bay's leading rusher (978 yards) in 2020, and he went for another 139 yards in three playoff games. It was a far cry from a forgettable 2018 rookie season in which he totaled just 77 yards from scrimmage in nine appearances.
However, Jones is once again finding himself a bit of a peripheral figure. Through six games, he has run for 118 yards and one touchdown. Over the past four weeks, he has also played in fewer than 20 percent of Tampa Bay's offensive snaps.
Arians is riding the hot hand, and that's Leonard Fournette at the moment. The defending Super Bowl champions are riding a three-game winning streak, and Fournette has 240 rushing yards, 136 receiving yards and three touchdowns during that span.
If they were to trade Jones, the Buccaneers would still have Giovani Bernard and 2020 third-round pick Ke'Shawn Vaughn to back up Fournette. As Arians explained, though, he's a great insurance policy in case Fournette has to miss any time.
And flipping a proven contributor for draft picks probably isn't all that attractive for a franchise that's not only looking to win now but also has control of its most valuable picks for the next few years.