- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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In 2012, the Dallas Cowboys rushed for 1,265 yards, the lowest output in a 16-game season in franchise history.
But Jones is set to become a free agent this spring, and his time with the Cowboys can be described in a word as inconsistent.
Health was the main reason. Jones played with two sore knees last season. He walked like a man who was 60 years old, and at times looked slow on the football field. But Jones, who doesn't need offseason surgery, earned praise from executive Stephen Jones, who said the running back played through some things that would force others to sit.
There were also flashes where Jones displayed quickness and speed.
Saying all this, should the Cowboys bring Jones back in 2013?
It's doubtful Jones will receive a big money contract with another team to become a starter because of his inconsistency, but maybe, just maybe, Jones can sign a one-year contract and become a dependable backup to Murray.
Jones would be a good fit as a backup because he is a veteran and perhaps new running backs coach Gary Brown could revitalize his career.
The health of a running back in the NFL is tenuous, and Jones and Murray haven't shown the ability to get through seasons healthy on a consistent basis.
The Cowboys have numerous holes to fill, which could mean drafting for the offensive and defensive lines and quite possibly getting a quarterback in the first three-to-four rounds of the draft. The Cowboys, as of now, have six draft picks, and using one on a running back would be smart in the late rounds. However, if Jones remains on the team, you have some experience to replace Murray should he suffer another injury.
Yes, the Cowboys need to get younger, but Jones, who turns 26 in May, has experience and is still young enough to give the Cowboys some quality carries.
We're not saying 15 carries a game, just five or six a game to give Murray a break. When healthy, Jones can be an explosive player, as he showcased as a rookie in 2008 when he scored three touchdowns of 20 or more yards.
At times, the Cowboys saw the Jones of 2008 last season.
It might be time for the Cowboys to bring him back.