Is Ronald Jones playing against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round? He’s been battling an ankle injury that kept him out in Week 18. What is Jones’ status ahead of Sunday’s first-round playoff game?
Is Ronald Jones playing against the Eagles tonight?
Due to his ankle injury, Jones could not practice all week, and Tampa Bay officially ruled him out on Friday.
Leonard Fournette, on the other hand, is still questionable, but the Bucs are hopeful he can play. He’ll be a game-time decision.
Jones has fallen out of favor in Tampa Bay since Fournette’s arrival. The fourth-year back out of USC has almost half as many carries this season as he did in 2020, and the understanding is that Fournette does the fundamental things better.
Fans have grown frustrated with Jones as a pass blocker, and fantasy owners have wondered what to do with him on a week-to-week basis.
Jones’ 2021 season
Jones has 101 rushing attempts this season, compared to Fournette’s 180. However, 30 of Jones’ carries came in Week 16 and 17 with Fournette injured. Before those two games, Jones managed to hit the 10-carry mark only once this year.
The Bucs are a pass-first team, as evidenced by Tom Brady throwing for over 5,000 yards in 2021. Jones is not a pass-catching back and was targeted on only 12 occasions. That area of Tampa Bay’s game works far better with Fournette, who seems to have revitalized his career.
Fournette has 83 targets compared to Jones’ 12. He is heavily preferred in Tampa, and the tape shows why. So what happens next for Jones?
What’s next for Jones?
Jones is in the fourth year of his contract with the Buccaneers and will be a free agent at the end of the season. I’d be shocked to see him re-sign with the Bucs and wonder if he’d have a market in free agency.
There are other backs who will have options in the offseason as their contracts expire. Melvin Gordon is one who’s impressed in Denver. Cordarrelle Patterson and James Conner are also on the list. Of course, the most important one from Tampa Bay’s perspective is Fournette.
He’s an excellent fit for the Buccaneers right now because he’s remarkably cheap. But after posting more than 1,400 all-purpose yards this year, Fournette could get himself an excellent contract on another team. Tampa will have to entice him to stay.
Jones might also get a fresh start in another city. There are certainly teams who may take a flyer on him, including the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, and New York Jets.