Jones will join a crowded backfield that already includes LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk, Miguel Maysonet and Matthew Tucker. Jones is a former first-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys, although he never lived up to expectations the team had for him.
Jones averaged a whopping 8.9 yards per carry on 30 carries as a rookie, then led the league with a 5.9 average as a second-year player. He struggled to become a full-time back though, topping out at 185 carries in 2010. Jones’ lifetime 4.8 yards per carry average is one of the better numbers among active running backs, and he should still be able to produce in a part-time role in ’13.
Jones will compete with Brown for a backup spot, as McCoy is still the star of the show. Jones seems to be a logical fit for Chip Kelly’s offense, as he possesses the speed Kelly cherishes in his players. Jones was timed at a 4.37 40-yard dash coming out of college.
He is a solid receiver out of the backfield as well. He’s averaged 36 receptions and 312 yards per campaign since 2010. A backfield with McCoy, Jones and Brown has the potential to lead the NFL in rushing yards, especially with Michael Vick at quarterback.
Jones’ one-year deal for just $715,000 should leave him with something to prove. He’s still just 26 years old with only 569 career carries on his body.
Jones saw his yards per carry average drop to just 3.6 last year, by far a personal worst. That may have had something to do with the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line, a unit that featured a slew of subpar players on the interior.
The odds are good that Jones makes the team.
McCoy will receive the bulk of the carries in Kelly’s run-first offense, which should amount to a career year. Brown’s touches will depend solely on his ability to hold onto the football (four fumbles in 115 attempts last year). Jones should be a lock to beat out Polk, an undrafted rookie free agent from ’12.
The only other competition comes from a pair of undrafted players from this past draft class in Maysonet and Tucker.
The Jones signing may turn out to be a pleasant surprise for the Eagles. He will probably get anywhere from 50-100 carries plus 20-30 catches.
It’s a low-risk deal with a potentially high reward. If it doesn’t work out, the Eagles can cut ties in training camp and still put forth a good backfield with McCoy and Brown. If it does work out, maybe Jones can be the piece to push the Eagles to a playoff spot.