Cowboys RB Ronald Jones Issued Two-Game Suspension

The Cowboys’ running back depth chart will be thinned out to begin the season. Ronald Jones received a two-game suspension on Monday, as noted (on Twitter) by ESPN’s Field Yates.

The NFL announced that the ban was handed down due to a PED violation. That will cost Jones two weeks of pay, and make him ineligible to join Dallas’ active roster until Week 3. He is able to remain with the team during practices and the preseason, though today’s news will certainly not help his chances of surviving roster cuts in advance of the season.

The 25-year-old signed a one-year deal not long after Ezekiel Elliott was released. That opened the door to the former earning the backup role behind Tony Pollard, but Jones saw very limited usage in 2022. He spent the season with the Chiefs, receiving only 18 total carries. Despite dressing for Kansas City’s Super Bowl victory, he was not used during the title game. That hurt his value on the open market, one which has seen a number of experienced backs struggle to find long-term commitments.

The former second-rounder spent his first four seasons in Tampa Bay, but he never saw more than 192 carries in a single season. His largest workload came in 2020, when he posted career-highs in rushing yards (978), touchdowns (seven) and efficiency (5.1 yards per carry). His 309 receiving yards from the previous campaign demonstrated his abilities as a pass-catcher, but Leonard Fournette operated as the Buccaneers’ lead back for each of the past two seasons.

The (at least temporary) loss of Jones will test Dallas’ backfield depth. Pollard – who received the $10.1MM franchise tag after turning down at least one multi-year offer from the team – is in line to operate as the focal point of the Cowboys’ ground game. Not much experience is in place behind, him, though, and sixth-round rookie Deuce Vaughn could be in line for a notable role. Of course, a signing could come about as a result of today’s news.

A slew of veteran backs are still on the open market, including Elliott (with whom a Cowboys reunion has not been entirely ruled out), Fournette, Kareem Hunt and J.D. McKissic. How much interest Dallas shows in making a move at the RB spot will be worth watching in the coming days.

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