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Could This Free Agent RB Backup Ezekiel Elliott In 2017?

Brian Martin

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Could This Free Agent RB Be Ezekiel Elliott's Backup In 2017?

The Dallas Cowboys have one of the best, if not the best, running backs in the entire NFL in Ezekiel Elliott. But, the cupboard behind him is pretty bare and likely needs to be addressed at some point with either a free agent or a rookie.

Adding depth to the running back position isn't necessarily a top priority because Ezekiel Elliott will rarely come off the field, but you have to have a good contingency plan in place for emergency situations.

Could This Free Agent RB Backup Ezekiel Elliott In 2017?I personally believe the Cowboys will go bargain shopping this off-season and find a capable free agent RB to back up Elliott for the 2017 season. A player that makes sense to me is former Cincinnati Bengal, Rex Burkhead.

Yes, that white running back that used to play at the University of Nebraska.

That seems to be all that anybody knows about Burkhead or at least the only thing I ever hear when his name pops up. It may sound racist, but it's true.

Now, before you cast this idea to the side, you have to give me a chance to explain why this makes a lot of sense for the Cowboys.

Burkhead isn't the biggest or fastest running back in the league, but his value lies in all of the different ways he can contribute to the team.

Burkhead isn't what you would consider an every down type of RB, but he is more than capable of toting rock given the opportunity.

Could This Free Agent RB Backup Ezekiel Elliott In 2017? 1In fact, the only time Burkhead really got to show his stuff was towards the end of the year in 2016 against the Baltimore Ravens. He took full advantage of his opportunity and ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns on just 27 carries. That was against one of the best run defending defenses in the entire league.

He is a decisive runner and doesn't shy away from contact. He also has good vision and is more elusive than a lot of people give him credit for.

With the Cowboys he would likely be the change of pace back and take over Lance Dunbar's role on offense. But, unlike Dunbar, Burkhead is much more suited to run the ball between the tackles.

Rex Burkhead would also likely be an upgrade over Alfred Morris. He is better in pass protection and is also a better receiver out of the backfield as well. It's debatable whether or not he's a better runner because there's such a small sample size so far in his career. But, it wouldn't completely surprise me if he comes in and makes Morris expendable.

Of course, that's not the only way Burkhead can contribute. He was mostly a special teams player with the Bengals and would likely continue to contribute in that capacity with the Cowboys as well.

Rex Burkhead is the definition of "value" when it comes to what the Dallas Cowboys want in a backup running back.

You add him, Ezekiel Elliott, and a rookie RB at some point in the draft, and you have a pretty good versatile group of players that have restocked the cupboard in a short amount of time.

If the Cowboys stick to their bargain shopping approach to free agency, adding Rex Burkhead just makes too much sense not to happen.

Do you think Rex Burkhead would make a good backup for Ezekiel Elliott?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.



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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8 Comments
  • Billie Battoni

    Rex Burkhead is really good and will be in a rotation somewhere. Probably one of the top three most versatile free agent backs this year. Crazy high level athlete

    • Brian Martin

      Billie, I completely agree with you. I’m just hoping that is for the Dallas Cowboys.

  • Russ_Te

    Darren McFadden
    Football running back
    Darren McFadden is an American football running back for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. He played college football for the University of Arkansas, and was picked fourth overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 2008 NFL Draft.
    Wikipedia
    Born: August 27, 1987 (age 29 years), North Little Rock, AR
    40 yard dash time: 4.33 seconds
    Height: 6′ 2″
    Current team: Dallas Cowboys (#20 / Running back)

    • Russ_Te

      I see no changes to the above, so can’t agree with the idea of bare in the unit. I might want Burkhead or a similar player to challenge Morris in camp, but only if inexpensive in FA.

      Similar to the WR speculations, the Cowboys getting distracted from RDE, CB, OL and maybe TE, is something they can’t afford to do.

      • Brian Martin

        Russ, I’m not sure what you meant mentioning Darren McFadden in your previous comment. He is a free agent now, which leaves Elliott and Morris as the only two running backs on the roster to receive a carry in 2016. The position needs to be addressed with either a cost-effective free agent or draft pick, possibly both. But, I did mention that it probably isn’t a top priority because Elliott will rarely come off the field.

    • Brian Martin

      McFadden is a free agent and is probably a long shot to return.

      • Russ_Te

        You’re right it puts him at large, but all depends on his offers and also his career goals of course.

        Jerry likes him and he’s a perfect fit to spell Elliott and bring firepower – so to me that makes him worth at least what would be spent on another RB in free agency.

        For McFadden, if he gets a close and not insulting offer (like Jones gave Murray) – much better to stay. Less wear as a backup extends his career by years, plus a chance for Lombardi’s.

        Anyway, I hope he’s retained.

        • Brian Martin

          I personally wouldn’t mind McFadden returning, but the Cowboys like their backups to play special teams. I don’t think that’s part of McFadden’s game anymore.

Star Blog

Can Jaylon Smith Challenge Vander Esch For Starting MIKE Role?

Kevin Brady

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In Season For Youth, Cowboys Must Make Tough Decision On Jaylon Smith

When the Dallas Cowboys selected Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch with their first round pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the whole world basically assumed he would be the starting MIKE linebacker week one of the upcoming season.

After all, the Cowboys lost Anthony Hitchens to free agency and none of the injury replacements had much success during the 2017 season.

Now just a couple of months shy of that week one match up with the Carolina Panthers, a battle for that middle linebacker spot appears to be occurring.

Former 2016 second round pick Jaylon Smith has seemed to find his health, and his movement skills and agility look like they did back when he was at Notre Dame. Whether or not these offseason hype videos will actually mean anything on the field remains to be seen, but just the fact that Smith is working out and playing without the knee brace is obviously a good sign.

Unlike Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith did play for the Dallas Cowboys a year ago. Sure Smith had his share of growing pains, but he seemed to find his groove late in the season. It probably isn't a coincidence, though, that Smith's best games came when coming off the bench in a limited role and when playing beside veteran Sean Lee.How Will LB Jaylon Smith Best be Utilized in 2018?

During the offseason activity thus far Jaylon Smith has gotten the majority of snaps at middle linebacker, but Vander Esch has also been sidelined with an injured ankle. Leighton Vander Esch clearly fits the mold of a MIKE both physically and athletically, but at his best Jaylon Smith does as well.

Despite the resurgence of Jaylon Smith and the injury to Leighton Vander Esch, I still do expect Vander Esch to snag that MIKE role moving forward. While showing glimpses of productive play, Smith did not impress enough to earn him the unquestioned starting job last season, and may best fit as a SAM backer and situational pass rusher/blitzer in the current scheme.

Allowing Jaylon Smith to conserve his energy and provide a boost off the bench is the best way for the Cowboys to structure their defense. Of course, this is only true as long as Vander Esch becomes the player they expect him to be, though.

If Jaylon Smith does return to the player he was at Notre Dame prior to his horrific injury, the Cowboys will possess three incredibly rangy, athletic, and talented linebackers on their roster.

Of course, that if is a very big if at this point, however.



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Star Blog

Will Cowboys’ Performance VS NFC South Define 2018 Season?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dak Prescott Weighs in on Cowboys "Dak-Friendly" Offense Approach

When thinking about how the Cowboys' 2017 season came to an end the day before Christmas after a disappointing loss to the Seattle Seahawks, we often forget the team needed some extra help in order to get to the playoffs. The NFC was a tough conference to play in last year... but it will only be tougher in 2018.

The NFC is way stronger than the AFC right now, at least in terms of depth.

The Cowboys will be sharing a division with the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that only got stronger this offseason and will try to make a run for the NFC East title once again.

As good and promising as the Cowboys' roster is, it's only fair to admit that trying to get to the postseason this year might implicate running for a wildcard spot. Many teams will be fighting for a playoff berth late in the year but fortunately for Dallas, they will be able to control their destiny against a handful of this teams.

The Cowboys will play against the entire NFC South this season. Except for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, every team in the South division was fighting for a chance at January football heading into week 17.

The Saints, Falcons and Panthers all finished the season with double-digit wins last year, and there's little reason to believe they won't come back as strong as they were in 2017.

If the Cowboys are not able to beat the Eagles in the NFC East race, we'll be hearing about a lot of different playoff scenarios that will be needed in order to play in the postseason. Certainly, having the head-to-head advantage against the NFC South teams would go a long way, even if the team will play the Saints, Falcons and Panthers before December comes around.

If the Cowboys do manage to get back to their 2016-selves, no team in the league should be an "impossible" challenge for a powerful running-game based offense and a defense that can rush the passer consistently.

Of course, the NFC South is not the only challenging division in the conference. The NFC West will feature another three football teams that will be winning tons of games. The Rams, 49ers and Seahawks are all very likely to have winning records and be in the hunt once December comes around.

In a season that promises to be a "comeback" year for America's Team, the NFC promises to be a threatening conference from every direction. If the Cowboys will be able to overcome or not remains unknown and will stay that way until the season actually starts.

Tell me what you think about "Will Cowboys’ Performance VS NFC South Define 2018 Season?" 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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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: 3 Escenarios Para el Futuro de David Irving

Mauricio Rodriguez

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- David Irving, #95

En la NFL, la falta de noticias en Junio generalmente significa buenas noticias. Los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys saben esto mejor que nadie y en caso de que lo hayan olvidado, David Irving se aseguró de recordarle a Cowboys Nation el porque de esta frase.

La semana pasada, se anunció que David Irving recibirá una suspensión de cuatro partidos por haber violado la política de abuso de substancias de la liga. Es la segunda suspensión que Irving recibe en años consecutivos y lógicamente, esto es preocupante para el equipo de los Dallas Cowboys.

Las últimas dos temporadas hemos visto a Irving convertirse en una pieza de suma importancia para la defensiva. El año pasado, Irving consiguió siete sacks (capturas) en sólo ocho juegos y se convirtió en un caza cabezas muy efectivo.

Demostrando ser uno de los jugadores más talentosos de su posición en la NFL, es difícil imaginar el futuro del #95 en la liga. Tras recibir un tender de segunda ronda hace unos meses (explico que es eso aquí), el futuro de Irving es muy incierto. Por eso, esta semana en Cowboys en Español, exploraremos tres escenarios posibles para el defensivo de 24 años.

#1 David Irving se va de Dallas prematuramente

Hace unos días, me dediqué a defender mi posición de que los Cowboys estarían cometiendo un error al cortar a David Irving. A pesar de que realmente despedirse de un defensivo como Irving parece muy poco probable, es un escenario que debemos discutir.

Irving ha sido un dolor de cabeza para el equipo en más de una ocasión. Dos suspensiones en años consecutivos no es una buena imagen para un jugador que busca un contrato jugoso al terminar el año.

Si Jason Garrett y la administración quieren "dar un mensaje" cortando a David Irving, ¿qué tanto serviría? Esta idea de enviar un mensaje, a la hora de pensarlo fríamente, parece una idea romántica de parte de nosotros los fans. Al final de cuentas, estamos hablando de un locker room lleno de jugadores adultos y profesionales, no de un grupo de niños.

Además, bien sabemos todos que Irving no es el único Cowboy que ha tenido problemas. ¿Será el hecho de que ha ocurrido dos años seguidos razón suficiente para dejarlo ir? Personalmente, no lo creo. Los Cowboys dejarían ir a un jugador muy bueno en una posición de necesidad.

Datone Jones, Jihad Ward y Maliek Collins podrán ser suficiente. Pero David Irving es especial en el campo. Mejor tenerlo por 12 juegos a tenerlo cero.

#2 Irving se queda para el 2018, pero no más allá

David Irving recibió un contrato de un año que le pagaba (antes de ser suspendido) 2.91 millones de dólares. Si hubiera demostrado que no era problemático y que podía mantenerse al 100% toda la temporada, probablemente hubiera recibido un gran contrato de los Cowboys o de otro equipo en la NFL.

Sin embargo, el dicho lo dice todo. "En la NFL, la disponibilidad es la mejor habilidad." Irving no se ha terminado de ganar la confianza necesaria para una gran extensión.

En este punto, Dallas puede esperar a que su tackle defensivo regrese de su suspensión, juegue doce juegos con ellos y les consiga un sack por juego por menos de tres millones de dólares. Después de eso, el equipo pude darse el lujo de dejarlo ir sin una extensión y verlo convertirse en un agente libre.

Does DT David Irving Have a Future With Cowboys?

Dallas Cowboys DT David Irving (Albert Pena / CSM)

#3 Irving se queda por más de un año

En este caso, hay dos "sub-escenarios." Suponiendo que, efectivamente, Irving regresa y juega como sabemos que puede hacerlo, no será tan fácil dejarlo ir. Si llega a sorprender y demuestra que realmente es quien creemos que es y consigue diez capturas en sólo doce juegos, ¿realmente no le dará el equipo una oportunidad?

La primera opción sería asignarle la etiqueta franquicia y obligarlo a jugar un año más para un equipo que busca desesperadamente un Super Bowl.

Si se sienten cómodos dándole el salario de una etiqueta franquicia para evitar perderlo, ¿podríamos culparlos después de que les dio por ejemplo, diez capturas? Yo, personalmente, no podría hacerlo.

La otra opción, y una que podría ser la más realista, es más simple. La inmadurez y los problemas de Irving le costarán la confianza y el interés de otros equipos y es posible que en un punto, Dallas sea el único equipo que le pueda brindar seguridad de trabajo.

De esta manera, Dallas podría ofrecerle una extensión de dos, tres o más años a un precio mucho más barato que el de cualquier DT que consiga dos dígitos de sacks.

✭✭✭✭✭

David Irving sin duda tiene un futuro incierto delante de él. Realmente sería una sorpresa verlo fuera de Dallas en el 2018, pero más allá, quien sabe lo que pueda pasar. Por ahora, esperemos que una vez que vuelva de la suspensión, esté en forma para ir detrás de los quarterbacks oponentes.

Con un poco de suerte, quizá nos olvidaremos de esto en Noviembre.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: 3 Escenarios Para el Futuro de David Irving" 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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