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Should Cowboys Cut Ties With Alfred Morris Or Darren McFadden?

Brian Martin

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Should Cowboys Cut Ties With Alfred Morris Or Darren McFadden?
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys were forced to carry four running backs on their 53-man roster to start the season due to the unknown availability of Ezekiel Elliott for the entire 2017 season. But luckily, Elliott's fate for the rest of the season may be determined as soon as sometime next week. That means the Cowboys could decide to finally cut ties with one of their veteran running backs, Alfred Morris or Darren McFadden, if Elliott avoids suspension this year.

I'm not trying to jump the gun here or anything, but I believe having Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden is an unneeded luxury, especially when roster spots are so valuable. This is even more true considering the fact David Irving will be returning from his four-game suspension after this week's matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. Irving would be a welcomed addition on defense, but finding him a roster spot isn't going to be easy.

Hopefully we will know whether or not Ezekiel Elliott can play the remainder of the season before a roster spot is needed. If #21 is suspended though, Irving would likely take his roster spot, because Elliott would have to start serving his suspension immediately. But, if Elliott is cleared to play, I think Morris or McFadden's job security is in doubt.

Let's break this down a little bit further to determine whether or not the Dallas Cowboys should cut ties with Alfred Morris or Darren McFadden.

RB Alfred Morris

Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Alfred Morris

It was a complete shock that the Dallas Cowboys decided to go with Alfred Morris as the primary backup running back to Ezekiel Elliott to start the 2017 season. Nearly everybody thought that Darren McFadden was the surefire RB2, but supposedly the Cowboys coaching staff believed Morris outplayed him in preseason and in practices.

Alfred Morris may have suited up the first three weeks of the season as the RB2, but you wouldn't know it by his involvement on game day. To date, he has only four rushing attempts for 1 yard and a total of only nine offensive snaps. I doubt there's another backup running back in the entire NFL to play less snaps than Morris. To me, that signals a wasted roster spot.

RB Darren McFadden

RB Darren McFadden

Darren McFadden

The fact that Alfred Morris has been active every week of the 2017 season and Darren McFadden inactive might be the only thing we need to know in regards to how the coaching staff views the RB position. It's a scary thought to think Morris has outplayed McFadden the point where he's among the inactive's every week.

It may just be me, but that kind of indicates that if a roster spot was needed and it came down to Alfred Morris or Darren McFadden, the latter might be without a job sometime soon. Of course, we know that these types of roster moves typically comes down to who is making the most money. Unfortunately, that's not in McFadden's favor either. McFadden's cap hit in 2017 is $695,000, while Morris' is $2,137,500. Money speaks!

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All of this may come to nothing though. There is no way of determining whether or not the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff plans to cut ties with Alfred Morris or Darren McFadden anytime soon. It may make sense to me, but they obviously value their veteran RBs more than I do.

I personally think Rod Smith is capable of becoming the RB2 if Elliott is indeed able to play the entire 2017 season. He looked better than any of the RBs on the Cowboys roster, not named Ezekiel Elliott, in the preseason and off-season practices. But, he has never had to hold down such a significant role so far in his NFL career.

Regardless, a roster spot is soon to be needed and to me the running back position would be the one I target. Depth at the cornerback position is needed due to inexperience and injuries, and the same can be said about linebacker. It's doubtful that they cut anybody along the defensive line or just about anywhere on offense except RB. Wide receiver could be a possibility, but the youth the Cowboys currently have shows quite a bit of promise.

So, you can see why I believe Alfred Morris or Darren McFadden could be seeing their time with the Dallas Cowboys coming to an end. Who knows? Maybe the Cowboys decide they don't need either RB if Ezekiel Elliott remains available, but that's probably unlikely.

Do you have a preference between Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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22 Comments
  • tom

    Irvings comes back, Moore sent to PS. If a “good” CB/DB gets released/cut by another team, then DMC will be toast.

    • Brian Martin

      I don’t see the Cowboys trying to get Kellen Moore back on the PS. But, a roster spot is going to be needed for David Irving next week. That’s why I believe Morris and McFadden could be seeing their time with the Cowboys come to an end.

      • tom

        other option is Bene

        • Brian Martin

          That’s probably the way they would prefer to go, but with all that the injuries at CB, I kind of doubt it happens now.

  • Fatfan

    I tend to agree with Tom…they’d prefer to release bene; but simply cannot right now. So, a rb being released will do, and in a few weeks after that, bene gets released to make room for Rico; provided the cbs are finally healthy enough to not need to rely on bene.

    • Brian Martin

      I don’t disagree. I really think that’s the direction they would prefer to go, just can’t because of injuries at the CB position. And, the last I heard Rico Gathers is still dealing with concussion symptoms. I don’t know if he will be added to the roster this season.

  • Hollis Holcombe

    I’d go with the younger back, but DMC has that Arkansas connection with Jerry.

    • Brian Martin

      I think you’re talking about Rod Smith and I completely agree. I think he looked better than either Morris or McFadden in preseason. I don’t think McFadden’s Arkansas connections carry that much weight. Otherwise, he would probably be active on game days instead of Morris.

  • dmj182

    I like McFadden better than Morris. He has more speed than Morris. I think Dallas may be trying to trade McFadden that is why he is inactive. With Dallas who knows. Cooper Rush out plays Kelvin Moore and Moore is named backup to Prescott.

    • Brian Martin

      It’s definitely a mystery. I think the coaching staff just liked what they saw from Morris in practice and preseason more than McFadden. I haven’t heard any rumors that McFadden is on the trade block.

      • dmj182

        I don’t think Dallas is trying to trade him now because they have wait and see how the Elliot situation turns out but if Elliott is cleared the rest of the season then I could see them trying to trade him.

        • Brian Martin

          Exactly! I kind of find it hard to believe anybody would want to trade for him though. Teams would likely wait to see if the Cowboys cut him. But, all it takes is one interested team

  • Russ_Te

    Well McFadden is only 30 and had numerous seasons with little wear, including last year. I don’t think he’s lost it yet from the dominant RB he was in 2015, and IMO Morris is a chugger with less ability.

    Plus, if EE were to go out and McF were on another team, what does Morris look like on 3rd down? Much rather have McFadden’s speed in the game.

    Unless Morris comes alive in some way, I think we’ll see the shift back to McF and they’ll turn to him to spell Elliott, as we start getting into games with lots of carries.

    Besides, when Terrance Williams is traded for draft picks, a roster spot will open… ;^)

    • Brian Martin

      I don’t really think McFadden was all that dominant in 2015. Yes, he rushed for over 1000 yards, but only found the end zone three times. Also, he didn’t look very explosive in preseason. To me, he looked like he has lost a step. I don’t know if the Cowboys will continue to keep Morris and McFadden, but it just seems like a luxury to me to keep two veteran RBs who don’t really contribute anywhere except the running game. They’re not going to get on the field very often unless Elliott ends up getting suspended this year or gets injured.

      I also highly doubt Terrance Williams gets traded. I know a lot of Cowboys fans want to see it happen, but the Cowboys coaching staff really values what he brings to the offense. If Brice Butler continues to show up, he may be the one on the trading block though. But, I kind of doubt that happens either.

  • Grumpy

    Let’s not forget, when Irving comes back that makes 10 D line men; do we need that many??

    • Brian Martin

      Probably not, but I would rather have more depth that there. Defensive lineman are more difficult to come by during the season.

  • EverybodyTalks

    Yes they should cut ties with both at the end of the season and pick-up a RB in the draft. This is all based on the assumption that Zeke plays the rest of this year. As far as David Irving, they might cut Bene, but we have a ton of CBs on/off injury list.The timing is crappy. Irving is eligible after this Sunday. Zeke /NFL court hearing happens Monday. Zeke may not be playing for 6 games after that court date. So to let a RB go for Irving, this Monday, seems daring, at the least. I like Brian Price, but I think that is the direction they may go. Irving and Crawford can both slide into the middle to relieve Paea…..what do you think?

    • Brian Martin

      I think they will wait until after they find out what will happen with Elliott before making a roster move. I don’t think they will release Brian Price. He is really the only other 1-tech on the roster besides Paea. CB is tricky also because of all of the injuries. That is why releasing one of the veteran RBs made sense to me. But, that can only happen if Zeke can play all season. Unfortunately, it’s one of those wait-and-see situations.

      • EverybodyTalks

        The 1st week in October will be an interesting one for the Cowboys.

    • Russ_Te

      Fortunately the NFL’s chances of fighting Elliot’s stay of suspension, are tied to an underlying case which has already been gutted. Most likely IMO that EE is playing 16 and playoffs this year. And then winning in court in the offseason.

      The Cowboys do need a coherent plan to spell Elliott as we get into the thick of the season. He’s best deployed long enough to get games won, and not long enough to wear him out before the playoffs.

  • Steve Trevor

    Trade McFadden to Minnesota… even for a 6th or 7th round pick. It’s something.

    • Brian Martin

      Trading McFadden is a possibility, but I think the Cowboys are waiting to see what happens with Ezekiel Elliott.

Player News

Cowboys & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract

Jess Haynie

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Which 2018 Free Agents Will The Cowboys Retain? 1
Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportwire

DeMarcus Lawrence will definitely be a Cowboy in 2018, but now the future  beyond that remains in question. The Dallas Cowboys and their star defensive end did not agree to a long-term contract by today's deadline for franchise-tagged players.

According to NFL rules, teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to reach contract extensions with free agents who'd been assigned the franchise tag earlier this offseason. Players who did not get new deals will have to play the 2018 season on their one-year franchise tenders.

Jon Machota on Twitter

DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys were unable to work out a long-term contract by today's deadline. Lawrence will play the 2018 season under a one-year franchise tag that will pay him $17.1 million

This does not mean Lawrence will be a free agent in 2019. The two parties can still discuss the contract in the months to come, but the deal cannot be made until after the end of the regular season.

Dallas also has the option of giving DeMarcus a second franchise tag next year. However, that would come at a considerably higher price for a second-straight season.

This year, Lawrence will still make plenty with one of the highest cap hits of any DE in the league. He earned the franchise tag last with 14.5 sacks in a breakout season.

Today's news may not really be a big deal in the long run. As long as Tank wants to stay in Dallas after this, the two sides now have over five months to keep talking and will hopefully agree on a new deal for 2019 and beyond.

There is risk on both sides, of course.

Lawrence's leverage could be less if his productions drops or he gets injured. On the other hand, his position could be even stronger with a second-straight year of strong play.

Now everyone, from the team to player to fans, is in wait-and-see mode until the end of the season.



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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstatement Decision Due Soon

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys Headlines - Randy Gregory's  10 Game Suspension Official, DE Sidelined Until Week 16

The Dallas Cowboys should know by the end of this week if Defensive End Randy Gregory will be reinstated by the NFL from his indefinite suspension.

Gregory, who has missed nearly two seasons with drug-related bans, requested in May for Roger Goodell to allow him to return to football. The exact date of the request isn't known, but multiple sources put it somewhere around May 18-20.

According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFL has 60 days to rule on a reinstatement request. That would put the approximate deadline no later than this Friday, July 20th.

Gregory was a second-round pick for Dallas in 2015. He was considered to have potentially elite pass-rushing skills but red flags about behavior and drug use hurt his draft stock.

Obviously those warning signs were warranted. Over three seasons, Randy has missed 30 out of 48 games due to suspension.

But reports from around the Cowboys organization and others who've dealt with Gregory rehabilitation efforts are positive. His appeal request appears strong, backed up by several testimonials that he's turned his life around.

Will Roger Goodell agree? Will Randy Gregory return to the Cowboys 2018?

We should know the answer soon.



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Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott Ranked as Third Least Consistent QB in NFL

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Jekyll or Hyde: Year 3 "Prove It" Season For Dak Prescott?

Last season could've gone a lot better for Dak Prescott. After a remarkable rookie season, he wasn't able to meet the very high expectations put on him after leading the Dallas Cowboys to the #1 seed in the NFC in 2016.

Inevitably, the "sophomore slump" managed to get to Dak, even though the numbers make it seem worse than it really was. From his 13 interceptions in 2017, not even half can be completely blamed on him. However, even though he made improvements in his game, it's fair to admit that there was indeed, a slump in his second year in the NFL.

Earlier this week, NFL.com published an article listing the most and the least consistent quarterbacks in the league last season. The way the list works is measuring "their average 2017 swing in week-to-week passer rating." In the list, Dak Prescott is listed as the third least consistent QB in the league, with only Cam Newton and Derek Carr behind him.

Just like the Dallas Cowboys' had a roller coaster for a season, constantly shifting between winning and losing, Dak Prescott also struggled at remaining consistent. It makes a ton of sense, of course, for the Cowboys' 9-7 season had a lot of swings throughout the year.

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Ashley Landis / The Dallas Morning News)

At times, the team was missing its most important defender in Sean Lee. At others, Tyron Smith and/or Ezekiel Elliott weren't on the field either. This is not an attempt to excuse Dak, for he is partly at fault here, as is the entire team.

From week 10 to 12, Dak failed to throw for a touchdown but ended up throwing five interceptions. Later in the season, failing once again to get a TD pass in two straight weeks, he threw for two interceptions at Oakland then another two when hosting the Seahawks in Dallas.

In a season that will likely determine his future with the Dallas Cowboys, Dak needs to find a way to be more consistent week after week regardless of circumstance. Hopefully, with an improved offensive line and with Ezekiel Elliott leaving every suspension drama behind him, his offense will put him in position to have his best year yet.

In 2016 and in 2017, his Total Quarterback Rating has been in the top 4 among all quarterbacks, per ESPN. Now, this is not a stat that tells the whole story, but it does give you an idea of each quarterback's play. In a run-first offense and with a safe passer like Dak, I'm sure consistency will not be hard to deal with for the young QB next season.

As long as he takes advantage of the new set of targets he'll have at his disposal and his offense's powerful running back with recently-signed draftee Connor Williams, this offense will look a lot more like the one we saw in 2016.

We know Dak Prescott has a lot to prove. He has to make longer throws, throw more aggressively to get his receivers open, and more. But consistency is just as important. In order to be continuously successful and to be a contender year after year, you need that in your signal-caller. Even if key players on the team are down, he needs to be able to shine. It's a sixteen-game season, after all.

It's time for Dak to prove he can handle that.

Tell me what you think about "Dak Prescott Ranked as Third Least Consistent QB in NFL" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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