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Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians: Trade package for RB Ronald Jones 'would have to be extraordinary'

Based on the way the season began for Ronald Jones, one might think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would take a bag of footballs and a handful of magic beans for him in a trade. But as Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET trade deadline approaches, any interest in the Bucs' backup rusher will instead have to meet a high bar, according to coach Bruce Arians.

"It would have to be something really, really special. Because I love the way he's running. It's just one nick on Leonard (Fournette) and then RoJo's the guy," Arians said, via ESPN. "And so to me, it's still a great one-two punch. It would have to be extraordinary."

Picked up last year by the Bucs after his release by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Leonard Fournette eventually seized the starting role from Jones, who dealt with a finger injury and a case of COVID-19 near the end of the regular season, with some impressive performances in the postseason.

Early this season, Jones gave Arians every reason to keep Fournette entrenched as a starter. He was benched for a fumble in a 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1. A week later, he missed a blitz pickup against the Atlanta Falcons that resulted in a sack of Tom Brady, and Arians was none too pleased.

"Yeah, it speaks for itself, you know?" Arians said at the time, per the Tampa Bay Times. "Ro, that's his guy. He's got to get out of those type of situations. I thought he ran hard and protected the ball. But again, you can't have those mental errors."

Since then, however, Jones has earned back some trust, but nevertheless has remained the backup to Fournette. Jones played his best game for the Bucs two weeks ago against the Chicago Bears, rushing for season highs of 10 carries and 63 yards, but carried just three times against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Regardless of Jones' usage, however, Arians made it clear that he can't be had cheaply.

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