Trading a seventh-round pick for Jones prior to the 2017 season was very intriguing at the time since the only other quarterback besides Philip Rivers that Chargers fans were used to seeing was Kellen Clemens. Once the trade was done, members of the media were interested to see if this was the beginning of a new offensive blueprint designed by newly-hired head coach Anthony Lynn.
After two full seasons, Jones has unfortunately found himself cozy on the practice squad with no real chance of making a meaningful impact with this team. Will he slowly slink away into obscurity, or will Jones soon find a new home where his talents could eventually be utilized?
College: Ohio State
Years with team: 2
“Cardale Jones signed a 1 year, $645,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of $645,000. In 2019, Jones will earn a base salary of $645,000, while carrying a cap hit of $645,000.” - Spotrac.com
Jones offers a unique skill-set that teams can’t just find laying around in each year’s NFL Draft. At his size, combined with his surprising movement skills, Jones has all the physical intangibles that a coach would want in their franchise quarterback.
Nicknamed “12 gauge” coming out of Ohio State, it was Jones’ arm strength that made him such an enticing prospect. Prior to guys like the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Bills’ Josh Allen, the type of arm wasn’t seen in the NFL outside of maybe the Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford.
Jones was in Buffalo with Coach Lynn during his 2016 rookie season and the Chargers were banking on that familiarity when they traded a conditional seventh-round pick for him during the 2017 preseason.
The Jones project hasn’t come to fruition in the way Anthony Lynn probably hoped it would when they acquire the quarterback almost two years ago. He has yet to suit up in a regular season game since his rookie campaign and hasn’t spent much time outside of the practice squad. He only has 11 career pass attempts to his name with zero touchdowns and a single interception.
With the team having just drafted quarterback Easton Stick in this year’s draft, the chances of Jones likely sticking around much longer went from slim to none. He serves no purpose at this point other than being a practice squad stash with some unique upside.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2019
If the team decides to keep three quarterbacks on the roster, then I can see them keeping Jones on the practice squad. The Chargers don’t often keep more than two quarterbacks so I could easily see them bouncing Jones come the final cuts in August.
As far as what to expect, he’ll either be irrelevant on the practice squad or not on the team at all.
Fun Fact: After getting the starting nod in relief of injured-starter J.T. Barrett, Jones went on to help obliterate the Wisconsin Badgers in the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game 59-0. He would then go on to lead the team to the National Championship title after defeating #1-ranked Alabama in his second career start before trouncing the Oregon Ducks 42-20 in the College Football Playoff title game.
Jones has also recently partnered with a member of the Ohio State football staff to open up a new gym in the Columbus area designed to help train young athletes.