You would be hard pressed to find a running back in the NFL right now in a weirder situation then Darren McFadden. Acquired ahead of 2015, McFadden had the breakout year that we all knew the former fourth overall pick could behind the Cowboys' offensive line.
Despite his 1,089 yard effort, McFadden's Cowboys went 4-12, earning them the fourth overall pick. With that pick, he then saw Dallas draft his replacement, in Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott.
The Cowboys even went out to steal Alfred Morris in free agency, as another back that fit their scheme more than McFadden, but saw their lead back from 2015 get "veteran-courtesy" first team reps in mini camp. Before training camp in Oxnard though, McFadden broke his elbow in the strangest way, officially launching the Zeke Elliott era in Dallas.
Darren McFadden has been on the NFI list, ineligible to return through the first six weeks of the season. Now, like James Hanna (who has been on the similar PUP list), McFadden has a four week window to return to practice, and three weeks after his practice return to be activated, placed on the injured reserve, or released.
Ezekiel Elliott is obviously making it difficult for any other running backs to find prominent roles with the Cowboys, but having a veteran around like McFadden down the stretch to help manage the rookie's workload could be invaluable.
Depending on what this team also does at quarterback, McFadden could make for another solid option in the backfield with Tony Romo forcing defenses to back up. McFadden excels at hitting the hole quickly and bursting to the second level, something that cannot be taken for granted if you factor in the Cowboys' passing game with it.
As it is right now, Alfred Morris is still taking Elliott off the field on the third offensive possession for the Cowboys each week, and he is getting the job done at 3.9 yards per carry, securing the ball and running hard.
Could we see the Cowboys use both Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden to rest their emerging star in Ezekiel Elliott?
One recent sign that may help us answer this question is how the Cowboys have handled McFadden's contract situation.
Dallas has been paying Darren McFadden his full salary ($1.25M) while on the non-football injury list. They don't have to pay him anything.
McFadden is still earning his salary with the Cowboys, which likely means that they envision him helping this football team at some point later in the season. Dallas would have to make a roster move to eventually bring McFadden in, and they have seen Lance Dunbar miss the last two games due to injury - already on a one-year deal signed this off season.
While Scott Linehan loves the versatility that Dunbar can bring, his availability is anything but reliable, potentially making him easier to move on from. McFadden would then have a chance with the Cowboys, showing some newfound durability in 2015 by playing in all 16 games for just the second time in his career, and for the second consecutive season.
Ezekiel Elliott is clearly the present and the future for the Dallas Cowboys at the running back position, but all along this team has showed a ton of respect for Darren McFadden - a bright spot from a miserable 2015 campaign.
Before Ezekiel Elliott became the running back of America's Team, I wrote in detail right here why McFadden should have had the edge on the top of the depth chart going into 2016 with Alfred Morris signed and Tony Romo expected to start at QB.
Darren McFadden: "I'm healthy. I'm ready to go. Whenever I get a chance to get out there, I'm going to be ready for it.
Now, when it comes to McFadden being healthy and ready to fight for carries alongside Elliott and Morris, only time will tell if the fourth leading rusher from a year ago will still be running the rock in the silver and blue anytime soon.
Do you think we will see Darren McFadden with the Cowboys this season? Let us know! Use the comment section below to share your thoughts on the veteran running back, or email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com.
Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018
Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.
Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.
Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of... https://t.co/yTQbMYyrIv
While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.
L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.
Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber
A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.
The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber: https://t.co/TaC6cqjval
Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.
Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.
The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.
Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick
After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.
I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.
This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.
Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.
In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.
Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.
Want to help make Inside The Star better?
We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.
Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Should the Cowboys Restructure LB Sean Lee’s Contract?
NFL Draft1 week ago
Mauricio’s 2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Cowboys Steal Defensive Talent
Dallas Cowboys4 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Cowboys 2018 Free Agency: What’s Left Before Market Opens?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Do the Dallas Cowboys Have Any Trade Assets?
Star Blog6 days ago
3 Former Penn State Alumni Cowboys Could Target in Free Agency
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Familiar Faces Remain in the Fold for Cowboys Mock Drafts
Star Blog1 week ago
Cowboys Defense: Bigger Need at Safety or Defensive End?