Ronald Jones II showed glimpses of hope every now and then in 2019. Nonetheless, it is no secret that the Buccaneers’ running game is still nothing to write home about. The Bucs averaged only 3.7 Yards per carry on the whole season. Jones averaged 4.2 yards and totalled 724 yards. Peyton Barber, on the other hand, rushed for only 470 yards in total. He averaged a measly 3.1 yards per carry.
It is getting more and more obvious that the running back by committee approach is trending in the direction of Jones as Tampa Bay’s back of the future.
However, since Jones’ performances were not exactly dazzling either, do not be surprised if Jason Licht and the Bucs could end up making a splash in free agency at the running back position.
One possible candidate for such a signing would be Melvin Gordon. At least that is what Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report believes. Moton sees Tampa Bay as a possible suitor for the soon-to-be free agent running back Melvin Gordon.
“Last offseason, Melvin Gordon III held out in hopes of landing a new deal. The Los Angeles Chargers didn’t budge on negotiations, and the two-time Pro Bowler reported to the team before Week 4.
Gordon suited up for 12 games but finished with a career-low 612 rushing yards—partially because of Ekeler’s emergence.
Coming off a down year and likely exiting L.A., Gordon may go into the 2020 campaign with something to prove to his former team. The 26-year-old could consider signing with a division rival to make a Statement.
… Like Reid, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians’ offensive design has emphasized the passing game more than the ground attack. Tampa Bay also has Ronald Jones II developing in the backfield. Nevertheless, Gordon would serve as a safety valve for Winston, if he’s re-signed, in the short passing attack.” (see article HERE)
Moton definitely has a point. The Buccaneers have arguably one of the worst running backs group in the NFL. A game-changing back like Gordon would change that instantly.
Furthermore, Gordon has proven he can be an asset in the passing game, an area where he struggled in college. That would fit Bruce Arians’ style, as he likes to use his running backs as receivers out of the back field, the way he did in Arizona with David Johnson. In the 67 games he played in the NFL, Gordon has 224 receptions for 1,873 yards and 11 touchdowns. Beyond that, his punishing north-south style could complement Jones nicely.
Yet, with Gordon holding out before the 2019 season, he will most likely demand a lot more money than the Bucs have at their disposal, as there are more important players to resign this offseason. Consequently, even with the newly regained importance at the running back position, it is unlikely for Tampa Bay to acquire Gordon. That said, I think Gordon would be a perfect fit for the Buccaneers.
Crazier things have happened, though. It will undoubtedly be a highly exciting offseason, Bucs fans.
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