Chiefs sign Jones, Tomlinson visiting Vikings

Adam Schefter reports that the Chiefs have signed running back Thomas Jones to a two-year, $5 million contract. Schefter also confirms that LaDainian Tomlinson is scheduled to visit with the Vikings on Thursday.

Jones is coming off a solid season in which he rushed for 1,402 yards on 331 carries in 16 games. He also scored 14 touchdowns and averaged 4.2 yards per carry. The only issue is that his 31-year-old legs wore down at the end of the year and he was eventually replaced by rookie Shonn Greene as the Jets’ primary back for the playoffs.

Kansas City will use Jones in a platoon with Jamaal Charles. Jones will likely get 12-15 touches per game and also provides the Chiefs with a short-yardage back. The club needed to upgrade their running back position and while Jones isn’t the long-term answer, he’ll be a nice complement to Charles.

As for Tomlinson, it’s apparent he has come to grips that he’s not a starting back anymore because obviously Adrian Peterson is the primary back in Minnesota. Tomlinson could be a good fit for the Vikings as a third-down specialist and should stay healthy throughout the year if Brad Childress keeps his legs fresh.

With Chester Taylor now in Chicago, the Vikings need a backup for Peterson, so it wouldn’t surprise me if a deal with Tomlinson gets done soon.

Jamaal Charles owners should be a little worried, as Thomas Jones is not your average backup running back. He has rushed for 2700 yards and 27 TD over the last two seasons and doesn’t have the mileage of a normal 31-year-old starting RB because he didn’t carry the ball more than 138 times in any of his first four seasons. He did average 297 carries over his last six seasons, and didn’t look very spry in the postseason (averaging < 3.0 ypc in three games). Charles was very effective after taking over as the starter, but this signing probably bumps him down from a late first round pick to somewhere in the middle of the second round.


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