Running back Matt Jones remained a no-show as the Redskins kicked off their second week of voluntary offseason practices. The third-year pro isn’t expected to attend any of the remaining five voluntary sessions (two more this week, and three next week).
A person familiar with Jones’s situation said the third-year pro has opted against reporting to Redskins Park because members of the coaching staff told him he’s no longer a part of the team’s plans following the ascension of Rob Kelley and the addition of Samaje Perine through the draft.
Jones is training in his home state of Florida and is waiting for either a trade or his release, the latter of which seems more likely, the source said. But the 2015 third-round pick hadn’t been told when or if the team planned on making a move.
Coach Jay Gruden said last week he didn’t believe Jones was skipping practices because he was upset about his role with the team. Jones, according to the person familiar with his situation, remains in good spirits and understands this is the business side of the game.
It remains to be seen what Jones will do about the mandatory full-squad minicamp on June 13-15, but Gruden said last week he had “better” attend.
Washington selected Jones out of Florida as part of former General Manager Scot McCloughan’s first draft class in 2015. McCloughan compared him with former Seattle Seahawks and current Oakland Raiders back Marshawn Lynch, and predicted Jones would develop into a punishing runner. But the 6-foot-2, 231-pound Jones struggled with consistency, particularly in the area of ball security. He fumbled five times as a rookie and three times last season. Fumbles inside the red zone proved most maddening to coaches, and Jones was benched halfway through last season. Kelley took his place in the lineup, and Jones didn’t dress for another game.
Kelley entered the offseason practices as the starter, but Perine — taken out of Oklahoma in the fourth-round of April’s draft — has a chance to challenge Kelley for the starting job.