Thomas Jones is quietly putting together a great career

With 109 yards rushing in Thursday night’s win over the Bills, Jets running back Thomas Jones surpassed 1,000 yards for the fifth time in his career — and for the fifth straight season.

As pointed out by the Jets in a comprehensive post-game notes release, he’s one of only three active NFL running backs with five or more consecutive seasons of 1,000 yards or more rushing.

Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson has landed in four digits for eight straight seasons.  Steven Jackson of the Rams has done it five straight years, too.

And Jones quietly is climbing the middle rungs of the all-time rushing ladder.  He now has 8,883 career rushing yards, good for 29th on the NFL’s list.

He’d have even more if his career had gotten off to a better start.  Drafted fifth overall by the Cardinals in 2000, Jones was regarded as a bust after generating a total of 1,264 yards in his first three seasons, with per-carry averages of 3.3, 3.4, and 3.7 in 2000, 2001, and 2002 respectively.

In 2003, Jones was traded straight up to the Bucs for receiver Marquise Walker.  In Tampa, Jones rushed for a then-career-high 627 yards, with an average of 4.6 yards per carry.

The performance was enough to generate unexpected interest in Jones as a free agent.  He landed in Chicago, where his career finally flourished.

In 2004, he churned up 948 yards, and then he started his run of 1,000-plus-yard seasons.

The Bears, after three seasons, traded Jones to the Jets for a flip-flopping of second-round draft picks, thanks to the decision to elevate Cedric Benson, the fifth overall pick in 2005.  Three seasons later, it’s obvious that New York got the better of that one — especially since Benson was cut by the Bears after only one more season.  (And the Bengals continue to say “thank you” for that.)

Jones inked a four-year $20 million contract upon joining the Jets, and he previously indicated unhappiness with the $900,000 payout in 2009.  (He has yet to complain about the $13 million he received in 2007 and 2008 combined.)  Jones has since quieted down and gone about his business.

Still, he’ll be 32 next year, and Jones is due to receive a $3 million roster bonus prior to the 2010 season.  With Leon Washington and Shonn Greene also on the roster, Jones’ tenure with the Jets could be winding down.

If this is Jones’ last year in New York, he’s got a chance to make it his best one.  He’s currently on pace for 1,424 rushing yards, which would best his 1,312 yards from 2008 and his career high of 1,335 from 2005, his second season with the Bears.

17 responses to “Thomas Jones is quietly putting together a great career

  1. I strongly suspect that Thomas Jones won’t be back with the Jets in 2010. But, even at 32, there might be room somewhere in the NFL for him thanks to the rise in popularity of the dual-RB attack utilized by many teams.

  2. Easy, ESPN boy. He’s having a nice, not great career. He isn’t going to wind up in Canton.

  3. he has little threads on his tires and who knows whats gonna happen with leon washington’s knee injury

  4. saitek32 says:
    December 4, 2009 7:52 AM
    Sounds kinda like what we’re seeing from C. Benson as well.
    Further reinforcing what Rexy’s dad was saying. Why do people that are unsuccessful with the Bears go other places and flourish? Not saying Jones wasn’t good in Chicago, cuz he was, but he went some where else and has looked better to my eyes. Same with Orton and Benson. I think Rex’s reputation is sufficiently damaged that he won’t likely get another chance to start unless Schaub goes down for more than 3 games and looks good enough to get interest from another team, but I digress.

  5. He may not be back with the Jets but he certainly should have a shot elsewhere next year. And it doesn’t even need to be a dual back attack. TJ may be 32 but he has plenty of tread left on the tires. He hasn’t had as many carries as most backs his age, not to mention he’s a physical freak. The man is in amazing shape, really takes care of himself. It’s obvious now that he was not a bust, he was just stuck on the hapless Cardinals. As to why teams keep chasing him off after he produces for them? Mind boggling…

  6. Funny how the Bears had him as a feature back and drafted Benson. It was due to contract issues, but it turned out how it usually does.
    Benson was a problem child and the Bears don’t deal with them. Tank Johnson is still playing and still a problem child, just no longer an all-pro, he was cut by Bears too.

  7. When in recent History has a player gone for 1424 yards and then been cut over a 3 Million dollar bonus in the NFL. He has at least one more season in New York, which dissappoints me as a Pats fan.
    It would be somewhat reasonable to make these suggestions; if Shonn Greene had a high YPC like Lamont Jordan did on the bench behind Curtis Martin, if Thomas Jones wasn’t highly regarded for his conditioning, and if Leon Washington wasn’t injured. But none of these are true and in their situation it is obvious they must and will pick up that option. If not, good bye Fred Taylor and Hello Thomas Jones.

  8. He had 109 yards because the Bills gave up. C’mon man. He had 77 yards with 3 minutes remaining in the game and busted a 25 yard run off. His numbers for the night are a bit skewed and it just better not cost me the fantasy playoff game.

  9. If he is availbe at the end of the season, he just has “Patriots pick-up” written all over him…solid vet who wants to win and would love to play on a contender.
    HE would look good just stay in New York, but switching uniforms! Not sure of Jacobs, Bradshaw and Ware can get it done. Thomas Jones would be a huge lift to the Giants running attack.

  10. I played agianst Thomas in high school and know him personally he is a great guy.He was raised in the coalfields of Southwest VA. His mother worked in a coal mine to help raise him and his brother and sisters. I think that might be were his work ethetic comes from. He is a level headed guy and a true team leader. In his first few seasons he was on poor teams and when he finally got on a decent team he went to a super bowl and was a big reason they made it that far. I always knew given a chance with the right team he would do great things. He is a physical beast I don’t think he has ever had a serious injury. I think he has a lot of tread still on his tires and I would like to see him as a tandum with his brother but not in Seattle. I think he still has at least 2 or 3 good years in him and will continue to be productive.

  11. Sure, the Bears got rid of Jones to make room for Benson. But that decision was made even easier as Jones complained loudly for a new contract and made it clear he’d be a nuisance. Something he’s done a few times in his great career.

  12. I love that no one ever notices T Jones . He has been on almost everyone of my fantasy teams over the last 3 years and has been killing it for me. Its great to b/c he usually is one of the top fantasy performers in the league but I always end up getting him in the fourth or fifth round.
    He is deffently second round material but b/c no one else notices it I end up getting like 2 0r 3 secound round quality guys for the price of one.

  13. Another mistake by the Gruden/Allen camp…
    Thomas Jones = most underrated player in the NFL…

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