Ronald Jones has almost assuredly played his last snaps with the Buccaneers. Here is where the young running back could land in 2022.
One way or another, running back Ronald Jones is unlikely to return to the Buccaneers this year. The experiment has failed in many ways, although the 2020 season did show that Jones’ ceiling is still that of a starting running back.
In the modern NFL, especially in an offense like Tampa’s, a running back has to be able to run, catch, and block. Gone are the days of guys that only get one passing look per game. Even guys like Derrick Henry have to be able to catch out of the backfield, and this was the area that Jones struggled this most.
Jones didn’t have the hands to provide any consistency in the passing game, and his blocking led to more than one sack on an unsuspecting Buccaneer quarterback.
These miscues in the passing game weren’t enough to overcome quality talent as a runner, and this should lead to the Bucs moving on this offseason.
With that being said, Jones should get some attention in free agency from a variety of teams.
The most likely of these destinations for Jones seems like Baltimore. In a committee approach behind an offense that won’t require Jones to pass-block or catch as often as what he was asked to do in Tampa, one of those Baltimore/San Fran teams that have a heavier slant towards running will be able to make the most of Jones.
This would probably lead to a resurgence of Jones’ career, but Bucs fans don’t need to complain about “another star leaving Tampa and getting good.” Almost any other system will work better for Jones than what he was doing, and Buccaneers fans need to get used to the run game underperforming for as long as the scheme struggles.
RoJo will always be a big part of that 2020 team, but all good things must come to an end. 2021 likely put a nail in the coffin for Jones’ future in Tampa, but his future can still be bright if he falls with the proper team.
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