DeMarco Murray is a Philadelphia Eagle. As much as it pains me to say that, the only team willing to meet his contract demands with a roster capable of winning games is our long hated rival. I would have preferred him outside the division but it is what it is.
It’s time to move on and one of the ways the Cowboys plan to do that is by tapping into a few players already with the team. Lance Dunbar, Joseph Randle, and Ryan Williams.
Dunbar and Randle are already well-known among Cowboy fans. Dunbar has been a fantastic receiver for a RB, and Randle has incredible burst and vision, unless he’s trying to get around security guards at the mall, of course. And Ryan Williams has been a largely unknown commodity since he joined Dallas.
Mike from @CowboysNation says, “If Ryan Williams can stay healthy, he is going to surprise a lot of people in 2015 and make the Murray pain fade quickly.”
Injuries have crippled Williams’ career since being selected in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He played only five games in Arizona – all in 2012 – due to knee and shoulder injuries, before joining the Cowboys for their 2014 preseason. He showed us flashes of what he could do in some preseason games, but nothing concrete.
And now the Cowboys have signed former Oakland Raiders back Darren McFadden to a 2yr, $5.8 million contract with just $200,000 as a signing bonus. NFL.com reports the contract is worth up to $5.85 million, indicating the deal is laced with incentives that may lower the Cowboys’ risk should McFadden suffer another injury or not even make the team.
By all accounts, the Cowboys are heading into the 2015 draft with RB a priority position on their draft board, however, signing the 2008 #4 overall pick may mean the Cowboys will take either the best player available at #27 or look to fill one of many holes on the defense with their first round selection. It’s not exactly the strategy any of us fans want to hear after losing Murray to a NFC East rival.
Runner Todd Gurley out of Georgia still has his medical evaluations to clear prior to the draft. Should he be cleared medically after injuring his ACL last year, a popular scenario has the Cowboys taking him at #27 in the 1st round. Of course, that suggests one of the top RBs in the draft will fall to the end of the first round for the Cowboys to have a shot at him, which isn’t a sure thing.
The 2015 Dallas Cowboys training camp looks to feature five backs vying for one of the three roster spots Coach Garrett typically allots for the running back position; Darren McFadden, Ryan Williams, Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar, and a rookie to be named later.
Dunbar has failed to impress as a ball carrier or blocker. Randle has off the field issues which may have already sealed his fate. Williams has played in just 5 NFL games since entering the league in 2011. McFadden didn’t play a full season until 2014 and only boasts a 4.1 career average per carry.
Jason Garrett is a fan of the Running Back By Committee approach and with the current stable of backs, committee may be the only rushing attack possible. It’s not as bad as it sounds, though the naysayers among us will never make it easy to see, because the Cowboys still have the top offensive line in the NFL. A line of that caliber offers higher success rates for any back.
The draft will tell us more, and training camp will illuminate all. But until then, your guess is as good as mine which backs have an edge over the rest.