As first reported by NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, the Buffalo Bills have signed free agent running back Taiwan Jones. It was previously reported earlier in the day that Jones was visiting the Bills.
Jones comes to the Bills after six seasons with the Oakland Raiders, the first four of which were played under now-Bills running backs coach Kelly Skipper. He didn’t make much of an impact on the ground, rushing for only 183 yards on 44 carries. He also caught 17 passes for 240 yards, along with his only touchdown on a 59-yard reception against the New York Jets in 2015.
Jones also spent some time at cornerback for the Raiders, in addition to carving a niche as a special teams standout. He has 33 career tackles, along with one forced fumble and six fumble recoveries. He reverted back to a full-time running back in 2015 after missing most of the previous season with a foot injury.
In addition to that, Jones has plenty of experience as a returner in the NFL. He has 75 returns to his name, including eight for 112 yards last season. He was the full-time kick returner for the Raiders in 2013 and 2015, averaging 24.0 and 26.7 yards in those seasons respectively.
It’s hard to say what Jones’ role will be with the Bills. His signing would seem to indicate that the team isn’t thrilled with the group of rushers behind Jonathan Williams on the depth chart, but Jones only carried once last season for a loss of eight yards. The team isn’t lacking for special teams aces or return men, either. Perhaps Skipper remembered something he liked?
Either way, he’s no lock to make the final roster. He’ll be worth keeping an eye on, though, and is as good a bet to be the team’s third running back as anybody else right now.