The Dallas Cowboys have a rising two-headed monster at running back this year in Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. But if they’re looking for a third RB to provide depth and other services, they could do a lot worse than reuniting with free agent Rod Smith.
Rod, Jaylon’s older brother, was with the Cowboys from 2015-2018 as a fullback, backup RB, and special teams player. He left last year as a free agent and signed with the Giants, but then bounced to the Titans and Raiders the bottoms of rosters got churned throughout the season.
Having just turned 28 in January, Smith should still have plenty to offer in any role. We saw during his last few years in Dallas how Rod could function behind a stalwart offensive line and brought an edge as a power runner.
Considering what he can also provide on special teams and as a backup fullback if need, Smith gives a fair bit of value in that single roster spot.
That being said, the Cowboys may already have a younger version of Rod Smith in third-year RB Jordan Chunn. After two years on the practice squad, Chunn will certainly be hoping to earn his way onto the 53-man roster in 2020.
I’m not saying one guy is better than the other at this point. I can’t even say that Dallas would keep either on the 53, having only gone with Elliott and Pollard on last year’s roster.
Keep in mind that current FB Jamize Olawale also has skills as a ball-carrier and receiver and can serve as the emergency third running back.
But as the Cowboys load up for training camp, bringing Rod Smith back into the fold would make sense as a veteran insurance policy against injuries or a lack of development from Chunn. He would have to learn new things from Kellen Moore’s offense and now Mike McCarthy’s involvement, but he could be a boost to our woeful special teams performance from last season.
Obviously there are many bigger fish to fry this offseason than the bottom of the RB depth chart. But while the Cowboys’ focus will be on their marquee free agents, they still have other minor moves to make to fill out their 90-man roster for camp and preseason.
Maybe have their eye on some other talents in the free agent pool. But Dallas could do worse than a proven commodity in Rod Smith, who brings versatile value as one of your depth options.