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Chiefs Rumors: Former Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones to Agree to 1-Year Contract

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMarch 26, 2022

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs agreed to a one-year contract with running back Ronald Jones II in free agency on Saturday, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

Jones, 24, was a second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of USC in 2018, and he went on to spend four seasons with the franchise.

While Jones was a key part of Tampa's running game in 2019 and 2020, he largely fell out of favor in 2021 and was clearly behind Leonard Fournette on the depth chart.

With Tampa Bay signing Fournette to a three-year, $21 million contract in free agency and retaining 2020 third-round pick Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Jones became expendable.

In Jones, the Chiefs are getting a running back who eclipsed 1,000 yards from scrimmage in both 2019 and 2020.

Jones rushed for 724 yards and six touchdowns in 2019 and set career highs with 31 receptions for 309 yards. He followed that up in 2020 with career highs in rushing yardage (978), rushing touchdowns (seven), total touchdowns (eight) and yards per carry (5.1).

Given what Jones accomplished in his first season with Tom Brady as his quarterback, including winning a Super Bowl, expectations were high entering the 2021 campaign.

Jones never really got on track, though, rushing for just 428 yards and four touchdowns despite appearing in 16 games. He earned just three starts and took a clear backseat to Fournette largely because of Fournette's receiving ability.

Jones figures to have far more opportunities available to him in KC since two of the Chiefs' key running backs from last season, Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon, are free agents.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the top holdover running back on Kansas City's roster, although he has struggled to stay healthy during his career and has been something of a disappointment since the Chiefs selected him with the final pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft.

While Edwards-Helaire reached 1,100 yards from scrimmage in 13 games as a rookie, he was limited to just 10 games last season and rushed for 517 yards and four touchdowns, while catching 19 passes for 129 yards and two additional scores.

Edwards-Helaire has shown some solid pass-catching skills in the NFL, which suggests he could be the Chiefs' do-everything back whereas Jones will be the hammer who gets early-down and short-yardage work.

Developing a strong running game is more important than ever in Kansas City after trading wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, and if Jones performs well in 2022, it could take a lot of pressure off quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

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