The Buccaneers could start to look into this proposed trade.
We’ll start out by saying a trade right now is not the right move by the Buccaneers. Tampa has the talent to field a very deep running back room, but if you refuse to use a player that happens to have value, a trade starts to make more sense.
When Jones messes up, what happens? He goes straight to the bench, often regardless of the indiscretion. Whether it is a dropped pass, fumble, or a missed block, Jones has seemed like the kid always in time out during the Bruce Arians era.
Jones is absolutely the best running back on the roster, but even Peyton Barber and a lackluster Leonard Fournette last season constantly stole touches from RoJo. Jones has always been the most explosive player in the room, yet he lives in Arians’ dog house.
On Thursday night, when Jones fumbled the ball, he didn’t touch the field for the rest of the game. When Fournette tipped a pass directly to a defender, no change came. Why?
When the Bucs had a chance last season to get their first 1,000-yard rusher since Doug Martin, who did they feed on offense? Antonio Brown, not Jones-and it is worth noting how anti-Brown Arians was for the majority of last season.
The committee approach in Tampa is acceptable on its face, but it often appears that Arians doesn’t even want that. Just looking at usage and Arians’ general desires for talents in a running back, it is a more than legitimate assumption that 2021 will be Jones’ final season in Tampa.
Jones is a great back with plenty of upside, but if you don’t click with Arians, it’s going to be hard to stay in Tampa.
After watching Jones hit the bench in Week 1 after just one mistake, as is the growing trend, fans and commentators took to Twitter to begin discussing a trade for the second-round pick. It’s like Arians has a nice car in his garage that he refuses to drive. What’s the point if you won’t use it?
The Ravens tend to be the favorite from a destination standpoint, but any trade starts to make sense with enough thought. There are currently no signs that Tampa will keep Jones after this season, especially if this is how the year is starting out, so maybe the prognosticators are onto something.
Why hold on to Jones and let him walk in free agency when you can get something back now? It’s not like the run game will be a focal point for the Bucs anyway. As long as you can field a unit that can serve somewhat reliably on the ground and as blockers, the offense won’t change at all.
Arians clearly favors Fournette, even after the drama at the end of last regular season, and a small market could emerge for Jones if all the Bucs plan to use him for is warming the bench.
Ronald Jones is still the best running back on the roster for the Buccaneers and is their best chance at getting a 1,000-yard rusher, but it doesn’t do them a whole lot of good to keep him on their roster if we’re going to sink back into benching him after every mistake again.
The best move for the Bucs is to actually use Jones and give him the majority of the touches, but nothing guarantees this as the path forward. Regardless of upside, Arians doesn’t appear to see a future with Jones.
Perhaps a trade does make more sense in practice than it does on paper, but it would still hurt to lose Jones, especially when everyone sees the talent.
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