Cardale Jones Wants To Write His Own Ending | Former National Champion QB Makes Return To Football, Signs With IFL Team

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 08: Cardale Jones #12 of the DC Defenders scrambles against the St. Louis Battlehawks during the first half of the XFL game at Audi Field on March 8, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Former Ohio State national champion and NFL QB Cardale Jones signed with the Massachusetts Pirates, a franchise in the Indoor Football League.

Jones is a former fourth round pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2016 who has bounced around in the NFL and spent time in the XFL as well. The 30-year-old was thought to be done with football and recently expressed interest in being a part of the latest reinvention of the new XFL league. Instead, he will give indoor football a shot for the first time in his career.

Cardale Jones’ Journey

Jones burst onto the scene in December 2014 when he made his first start for the Buckeyes in the Big Ten championship game. He went on a historic run to beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship, Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, and Oregon in the national championship game. He returned to Ohio State the following season

That run made Jones a legend in Columbus, but he couldn’t capture that same magic at the professional level. The Bills drafted Jones in 2016, and he would only start one game for the team before being traded to the Chargers the following offseason.

He remained with the Chargers, mainly spending time on the practice squad, until they released him at the start of the 2019 season. He had a brief stint with the Seahawks during the 2019 preseason but was released before the regular season started.

Jones found himself back on the gridiron in 2020 in the XFL with the D.C. Defenders until the league was shut down due to financial reasons. While in the XFL, Jones threw for 674 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, seven interceptions, and completed 54 percent of his passes in five games. He also led the team to a 3-2 record.

What is the IFL?

The IFL is the longest-running active indoor football league, which started in 2008 with the merger of the Intense Football League and United Indoor Football league. The league is composed of 14 teams spread across 11 states.

In 2022, the IFL and XFL announced a monumental player personnel partnership that provides the framework for players to transfer between the two leagues. It also allows the opportunity for players released from XFL teams to be transferred back into an IFL team. The two leagues will work together in scheduling joint tryouts and sharing video and game films.

In simple terms, the IFL will serve as a developmental league to the bigger XFL league. Each team will play a 15-game schedule, and the season gets kicked off in late March and will conclude in early August with the playoffs and championship. The playoffs will be made up of eight teams, the best four from each conference.

The IFL has a total of eight league sponsors, with the XFL being their biggest.

Is Cardale Jones A Bust?

Jones is an aging quarterback that is seemingly on his last football life, but he is determined to make the most out of this opportunity.

One could easily assume Jones is bust, but that assumption wouldn’t be wrong. The facts are that he was drafted in the fourth round, which usually mean teams are reaching in those rounds for a diamond-in-the-rough type of player. He was also drafted to a dysfunctional Bills franchise, unlike the one we see as one of the best AFC teams currently.

He spent two seasons with the franchise and never got a real opportunity to see the field. Jones didn’t start a game and played in the final regular-season game in 2016 when then starting quarterback E.J. Manuel was benched.

This opportunity could help Jones get back in shape and show league scouts that he is at least good enough to bring in for training camp if he plays well.

Kurt Warner got another chance in a similar type of indoor football league, and he would go on to become an Pro Football Hall of Famer. Jones is obviously not Warner, but the sky’s the limit for a player with tremendous arm talent and size.

His clock is ticking, but he can make some new football moments in the IFL, hearing the roar of the stadium crowd that has been so faint since his NFL departure, while helping a fledgling league get off the ground.