Could Thomas Jones Be the Next Big Name Running Back To Hit Free Agency?

Can Jones still handle a full load?

Can Jones still handle a full load?

After seeing huge names at the running back position like LaDainian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook get released from their respective teams in the past few days, the next thought is geared towards who might be next.

Thomas Jones, who will be 32, looks to be on his way out of New York, despite two back-to-back impressive seasons.

While his last two seasons of 1,300+ rushing yards and 12+ scores are fantastic for a running back over 30, Jones did start to show the wear and tear in the post-season, where he became a non-factor, and slipped behind rookie Shonn Greene as the main ball-carrier.

Jones has developed a common theme of wearing down in the past couple of season, and while he actually still posted solid numbers at the end of the 2009 regular season, his age, contract, and the luxury of having Greene could (and likely will) end with Jones playing elsewhere in 2010.

While people close to the Jets haven’t completely written off a return for Jones in 2010, it’s widely assumed that a healthy return of back-up running back Leon Washington could be the final nail in the coffin for his Jets career.

The Chargers have already been rumored to be interested in Jones, as they have just cut ties with former franchise back, LaDainian Tomlinson, and aren’t expected to make Darren Sproles their feature back.

While the possibility of a trade still exists, it’s looking very possible that Jones could simply be released, as the Jets seem unwilling to pay his $2.8 million dollar roster bonus, which is due on March 9th, while his 2010 salary comes in at an obscene $5.9 million.

For a back about to hit 32 years of age and has shown some signs of slowing down near the end of the past two seasons, there’s almost no way the Jets keep him for that kind of money.

It’s a bit early to start calling predictions on where Jones could wind up if he indeed is booted from New York, but teams like Philadelphia, San Diego, and New England all appear to be strong candidates.

However, money aside, it doesn’t appear that Jones is even close to be willing to take a back-up or majorly reduced role. That is, unless the market suggests that’s all that is there for him.

About Kevin Roberts

Kevin is a graduate of Concordia University in Wisconsin, where he majored in Mass Communications. He has written for multiple fantasy sites, and has had articles featured on foxsports.com and cbssports.com.