FRISCO, Texas -- A week after releasing Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent running back Ronald Jones, the team announced Tuesday.
It doesn't mean Jones, a former second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will be Elliott's sole replacement in 2023, but the Cowboys have provided depth as a complement to Tony Pollard, who is on the $10.091 million franchise tag.
The Cowboys also agreed to a deal with defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. to become the third defender to re-sign with the team, along with safety Donovan Wilson and linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, a source told ESPN.
Jones spent last season with the Kansas City Chiefs but appeared in just six games with 17 carries after a four-year stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His best year came in 2020 when Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl, and he finished with 978 yards on 192 carries with seven touchdowns.
Jones, who played not far from the Cowboys' practice facility, The Star, at McKinney North High School, signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs last year, but found himself behind Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. For his career, he has 2,224 yards rushing on 507 carries with 19 touchdowns.
While the Cowboys have Pollard under the franchise tag, it is possible they could work out a multiyear agreement by the July 17 deadline. The Cowboys also have Malik Davis, an undrafted free agent last year, on the roster and re-signed Rico Dowdle, who was hurt for a good portion last season, to a one-year deal.
Jones is the second free agent the Cowboys have added Monday, as Dallas also signed offensive lineman Chuma Edoga to a one-year deal. He provides depth to their line after losing last year's starting left guard, Connor McGovern, in free agency to the Buffalo Bills. The Cowboys' biggest acquisitions so far have come on trades for cornerback Stephon Gilmore (Indianapolis Colts) and wide receiver Brandin Cooks (Houston Texans) for third-day draft picks.
The tagging of Pollard and the addition of Jones does not preclude the Cowboys from taking a running back early in the draft, including at No. 26 in the first round.
Fowler had six sacks in just 343 snaps last season after joining the Cowboys as a free agent from the Atlanta Falcons on a one-year deal. He was able to record the third-most sacks he has had in his career after reuniting with coordinator Dan Quinn, who recruited him to the University of Florida and coached him in Atlanta.
With Fowler, the Cowboys have their top five sack leaders from a year ago back in 2024, including Micah Parsons (13.5), Dorance Armstrong (8.5), DeMarcus Lawrence (6) and Wilson (5). Last year's second-round pick, Sam Williams, had four sacks. The Cowboys had 54 sacks last year, tied for third in the NFL and the most by a Dallas defense since 2008 (59).