Bucs interested in RB Jones?

Just when it looks like the value of Earnest Graham is on the rise, a report surfaces that brings him back down.

NFL Network’s Adam Schefter suggests that free agent Kevin Jones is considering signing a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Such a move would further crowd a backfield situation that already includes Graham, Warrick Dunn, Cadillac Williams and Michael Bennett.

It would also make Graham less attractive as a No. 2 fantasy runner.

Kevin Jones, RB
Free agent

Career statistics
Att: 761
Yards: 3,067
TDs: 24

Jones, who was released by the Detroit Lions in the offseason, has been able to make cuts on his surgically repaired right knee in recent months. He even ran a short shuttle of 4.3 seconds. That’s an impressive number for an athlete who’s less than seven months removed from a reconstructive knee procedure.

He held a public workout this past weekend (Detroit, Green Bay, Miami and Pittsburgh had representatives), and his doctor said the teams were “amazed” at his performance.

The veteran runner has had an unconventional rehabilitation program, part of which involves work in a pool and in the basement and dojo of a holistic medicine practitioner and sports agent, but it seems to be working out nicely. Barring setbacks, Jones could become a real asset for the Buccaneers or another team that takes a chance on him.

Wherever he lands, Jones’ presence is certain to wreak havoc on the draft value of that team’s main running back.

If Jones did land with the Bucs, it would be a clear indication that Williams is destined be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Williams, who continues to make a comeback from a surgical procedure on his patellar tendon, seems to have little or no value in fantasy land heading into 2008.

Of course, all of this speculation assumes that Jones himself will be available for the start of the regular season. Despite all the positive reports and his recent workouts, it would be a medical miracle for Jones to be back on a football field a mere eight months after a reconstructive knee procedure.

The level of interest Jones has received despite his proneness to injuries is also a statement on how teams feel about fellow free-agent runners like Shaun Alexander, Cedric Benson and Travis Henry. With training camps opening in less than a month and several notable backs still out of work, we’re almost certain to see changes in fantasy value at the position.

Stay tuned…

Note: I’ll be on vacation in Connecticut for the next week, so I’m turning over the fantasy blog duties to the very capable hands of NFL.com Senior Editor Craig Ellenport and NFL.com Associate Editor Adam Rank.

Have a great 4th of July!

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