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Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Jones' signing is significant for Chiefs

By Bill Williamson

Chiefs fans had been worried that their team wouldn’t make an impact signing. Fret no more.

Thomas Jones
In Kansas City, Thomas Jones will likely serve as the No. 2 back and the short-yardage specialist.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported Kansas City signed running back Thomas Jones. The former Jets, Bears, Tampa Bay and Cardinals runner will be paid $5 million over the next two years.

This is a great deal for Kansas City. Jones may be 31 and he may have worn down some in the playoffs. But he is still a player who can help. He ran for more than 1,400 yards last season.

Jones has shown he is the rare tailback who can succeed after the age of 30. He has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his two seasons after turning 30. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Jones can tie the record -- held by Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and John Riggins -- for having three 1,000-yard rushing season after turning 30.

Don’t worry about this guy being finished. He’s not.

He gives Kansas City a legitimate NFL running game. It is clear the Chiefs are bound and determine to try to control and win games on the ground.

Jones will team with blossoming star Jamaal Charles. He had 1,120 yards in his second NFL season in 2009 despite not becoming the primary back until November.

Expect the game-breaking Charles to be the Chiefs’ primary back. But Jones will get plenty of carries and will likely be the Chiefs’ short-yardage back. This tandem should work fine. At the combine last month, Kansas City coach Todd Haley said it was imperative Kansas City get Charles some help because he is “200 pounds soaking wet.”

The Jones signing will make Charles better because he shouldn't wear down. The Chiefs still have to improve their offensive line this offseason, but the Kansas City offense is on its way.

New offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will have plenty to work with. The Charles-Jones rushing duo should help quarterback Matt Cassel. With the run setting up the pass, Cassel won’t have to do it alone.

Kansas City has been looking to make an impact move for a week. It was reported the Chiefs were primed to visit with San Diego running back Darren Sproles before the Chargers gave him the high tender at the deadline. The Chiefs tried to trade for receiver Anquan Boldin on Friday before he was dealt to Baltimore.

After missing out on those productive offensive players, Kansas City -- which re-signed standout receiver Chris Chambers on Monday and will likely target a receiver early in the draft -- got itself a fine player in Jones.

He was the team’s top choice at running back in free agency. The team had lined up visits with free agents Justin Fargas and Willie Parker. A source close to the situation said Tuesday afternoon that Parker will not visit Kansas City now that Jones signed. Fargas’ visit is likely is jeopardy now as well.

Enjoy this signing Chiefs fans. It’s significant.