Felix Jones era is over with Cowboys

May, 14, 2013
5/14/13
9:25
AM ET
Felix Jones signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles today, officially ending his time with the Dallas Cowboys.

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If Jones remains healthy -- and that's always been a big "if," because he's had toe, hamstring and thigh injuries -- the Cowboys could see him twice this season.

His role with the Eagles most likely will be as a change-of-pace runner, which was exactly his role with the Cowboys.

That's not a problem for the Eagles. For the Cowboys, it was.

In 2008, the Cowboys invested a first-round pick on Jones, hoping he'd become a backup for Marion Barber. That was wrong. An NFL team should never spend a first-round pick on a backup player.

In five NFL seasons, Jones rushed for 11 touchdowns and had 26 games with double-digit carries -- but only two with 20 or more carries. You could blame that on any number of factors: Jones' inability to remain healthy, coach Jason Garrett's lack of trust, or even inconsistency.

Before his injuries, Jones displayed speed, toughness and elusiveness. His body just wasn't durable enough to sustain it.

If ESPN Films' documentary series "30 for 30" ever does one on the stellar 2008 running back draft class, I'm sure somebody with the Cowboys will defend the franchise's choice to select Jones. But there's no defending it. Don't you wonder what would have happened if the Cowboys had bypassed Jones and instead drafted Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, Rashard Mendenhall, Matt Forte or Jamaal Charles?

When you don't offer a second contract to a former first-round pick -- no matter the position -- that tells you something about what the franchise thinks of that player. The Cowboys will say Jones wasn't a bust and that he scored 15 total touchdowns in five NFL seasons and rushed for 2,728 yards.

But now the Eagles have their backup running back, and they acquired him the way you normally would ... and not by using a first-round pick on him.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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