It’s not often that we discuss the fullback position. In fact, some NFL teams don’t carry one at all. But given Mike McCarthy’s track record for utilizing the FB in his offense, it’s definitely worth talking about as we preview the Dallas Cowboys’ 2020 offseason.
Change isn’t likely to come from a personnel standpoint. Jamize Olawale is signed through 2021 and is a proven veteran. The real question is if McCarthy will make him a more valuable, utilized member of the roster.
2020 Fullback Contract Statuses
- Jamize Olawale
- Free Agents
I wrote about this fairly recently; the usage rate of fullbacks during McCarthy’s Green Bay years was among the more prolific in the league. You couldn’t name most of the active ones in the NFL today, but I bet you’ve heard of former Packers FB John Kuhn.
Going to three Pro Bowls during those years, Kuhn was a sneaky offensive weapon for Aaron Rodgers. And even after John retired, Aaron Ripkowski put up solid numbers in an offense which made him an option.
The question; was John Kuhn a special player or just especially utilized by his team? Could Jamize Olawale provide similar production if given the opportunity?
The Cowboys thought enough of Olawale last year to give him a three-year contract extension. He is a decent enough blocker and special teams players to be worth keeping, but the skills as a runner and receiver that he showed in Oakland weren’t used at all in 2018.
When Dallas re-signed him last year, the belief was that Kellen Moore intended to do more with the fullback position than Scott Linehan did. But Olawale’s measly four targets in 2018 dropped to just two in 2019.
Will Mike McCarthy’s arrival now be what puts Olawale, or at least the fullback position, back on the Cowboys’ offensive radar?
We will likely see an additional FB added this offseason as a camp body, like we did last season with Ryan Yurachek. But Olawale seems like a natural fit for the things McCarthy likes to do with his fullbacks, plus he provides an experienced leader for the special teams units.
I fully expect Jamize Olawale to return as the Cowboys’ fullback in 2020, and hopefully the changes on the coaching staff help to unlock his offensive potential in Dallas.