The New York Jets made an ultra-wise move on Monday night, filling their gapping hole at running back by making a trade with the NFC Champion Chicago Bears for Thomas Jones. Jones, who was just running the ball in the Super Bowl a month ago, will now wear the green of New York and try to bolster the backfield of one of the weakest running teams in 2006. Last year with the Bears, Jones ran for 1210 yards and six TD’s. The Jets give the Bears their 37th pick in April’s NFL Draft, while the Jets get Jones and the 63rd overall pick.
The Jets are still in good position in the draft, as they still own two picks in the second round, their own at number 59 and now the Bears at 63. In 2006, the Jets were pretty bad running the ball, as they went back and forth with Leon Washington, Cedric Houston, and Kevan Barlow. They thought that with all-time back Curtis Martin on the shelf, making a late training camp deal for Barlow with the 49’ers would solve their problems. Instead, Barlow was a pretty big miss, rushing for just 370 yards on 131 carries. He averaged just 2.8 yards per carry.
New York ranked 30th rushing overall, and had just 3.5 yards per attempt. Jones will make them much better in that department right off the bat, and should add a lot to the Jets offense. For the Bears, the load of running the ball now falls on the shoulders of Cedric Benson, who came on late last season and now will have to live up for his 4th pick overall in the 2004 draft. He has been waiting to get his shot, and now with Jones out of the way, we’ll see if he lives up to the billing.