The Dallas Cowboys' offseason moves haven't exactly displayed much faith in running back Darren McFadden.
To make matters worse for McFadden, the Cowboys added yet another running back in the sixth round when they drafted Eastern Michigan's Darius Jackson.
There's no way McFadden is loving his chances to be a Cowboy come September at this point. However, I do believe there is hope for the NFL's fourth leading rusher from a season ago.
In 2015 the Cowboys did just about everything they could to avoid having to start McFadden.
Whether that was due to his poor-scheme fit, injury history, or just general questions the team may have had about his talent, McFadden basically became the running back of last resort.
Joseph Randle started the season as the lead back before running into a slew of personal problems. Lance Dunbar saw time as the change of pace back before injuring his knee and missing the majority of the season. And, the Cowboys went and traded for Christine Michael, with hopes of expanding his role at the Meadowlands following the bye week.
Instead, it was McFadden who saw his role grow that day.
McFadden started every game the rest of 2015, finishing with over 1,000 yards and possibly the best season of his entire career.
He showed resiliency, toughness, and willingness to work and fight for a spot on the roster and a chance to play on Sundays. No, he wasn't the ideal choice for the Cowboys but at times he was able to make it work and be a formidable back for the team.
Flash forward to this season.
OTA's are right around the corner, and position battles are starting to heat up. We all know Elliott will be the starter, and the odds are certainly in Alfred Morris' favor to be the number two back.
Rod Smith has moved to fullback and Lance Dunbar will likely begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
That leaves two running backs fighting for potentially one roster spot, Darren McFadden and Darius Jackson.
As I talked about in my film review of Jackson, I love his athleticism. He has breakaway speed, and has an ability to score each time he touches the ball that McFadden simply does not have.
I would also argue that Jackson is a much better scheme fit for the Cowboys, and could possibly fill the Lance Dunbar role until Dunbar returns to full health.
However, Jackson is coming from a small school where he didn't exactly shine through as a star. Rarely will a player stay as under the radar as Jackson has at a school like Eastern Michigan, only to make it big in the league and perform consistently at a high level.
McFadden has two things that Jackson doesn't which may go a long way with helping him make this team:
He has shown dependability as a Cowboy, and he has gained the trust of the coaching staff.
No, the injury concerns for McFadden haven't gone away simply because of one healthy season. But I do believe that he has shown a level of dependability for this team by carrying the load for the majority of 2015, and performing relatively well while doing so.
I will be the first person to tell you all the reasons why McFadden does not fit on this team. I will also be the first to root for Darius Jackson to make a run for the 3rd running back slot this season.
However, I don't believe that the coaches are really ready to let McFadden completely go just yet.
What he can bring to the team with depth and veteran experience at the position may be more valuable to the coaching staff than any extra flash Jackson may show.
Besides, we all expect Elliott to carry the bulk of the load anyway, so the 3rd running back very well may be just a veteran guy who can be trusted in game situations to simply not screw it up when called upon.
And to be honest, McFadden did more than just "not screw it up" a year ago.
I wouldn't count Darren McFadden out just yet.
Free Agent WR Allen Hurns Plans to Sign With Cowboys
It looks as if the Dallas Cowboys will be adding yet another wide receiver through free agency. According to sources, Allen Hurns plans on signing with the Cowboys.
WR Allen Hurns just told me, "I'm going to sign with Dallas." #Cowboys
This is a move that seemed unlikely after the Cowboys signed Deonte Thompson a few days ago, but I know a lot of Cowboys Nation will be excited about this transaction.
While this move is exciting, it does create more confusion for the Cowboys and their wide receivers. It's difficult to imagine all of these WRs sticking to the roster, which means there will be some tough decisions that need to be made.
What will the Cowboys do with Dez Bryant?
Will Cole Beasley be cut or traded?
Are the Cowboys comfortable absorbing Terrance Williams' cap hit if traded or released?
Will this keep the Cowboys from drafting a WR early?
All of these questions and more will have to be answered eventually. But, one thing is for sure, things are definitely about to get interesting.
Of course, there is a bonus here for the Dallas Cowboys. Since Allen Hurns was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he doesn't count against the Cowboys compensatory picks next season.
Please stay tuned and we will continue to keep you updated on contract details and any other news involving Allen Hurns as it becomes available.
What do you think about the Allen Hurns signing?
Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson
The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.
Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.
The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.
Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.
Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.
For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.
Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal
At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.
The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.
Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.
Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.
A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.
Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.
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