The Dallas Cowboys made news for refusing to pay running back DeMarco Murray what the Philadelphia Eagles did. The Cowboys acted very responsible by doing their homework on running backs over the age of 27 that ran as much as Murray did last season.
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Murray was brilliant in 2014 but the 392 regular season carries will take their toll. It took it’s toll on rushers Shaun Alexander, Larry Johnson and Jamaal Anderson. It will also claim Murray, if not this year, then sometime during his five-year deal with the Eagles.
While I believe Dallas made the smart move, I was not expecting the signing that took place when they brought in former Oakland Raider Darren McFadden. Yet, after a second look, it may be brilliant.
The knock on McFadden is that he is injury prone and has made it through only one season healthy. Ironically the only season he played 16 games was last season, which is also the only time Murray made it through 16 games.
There is also a belief that Run DMC is a bust and not very good. Yet, McFadden averages a career 4.1 yards per carry on a team with a poor offensive line. This has also come without ever having a wide receiver like Dez Bryant, tight end like Jason Witten or quarterback like Tony Romo to take attention away.
Then there is the coaching aspect. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has been the head guy since 2010. In Oakland they didn’t even know you were allowed to keep the same coach from season to season.
Since McFadden was picked in the 2008 draft by Oakland the head coaches have been: Lane Kiffin (2008), Tom Cable (2008-2010), Hue Jackson (2011) and Dennis Allen 2012-2014.
All that constant uncertainty and poor management takes it’s toll on the field. Coming to Dallas where there is stability will be a huge help for Darren.
This is not a signing where Cowboys owner Jerry Jones picked up a beloved Arkansas Razorback. Instead, this was a smart move where McFadden has a strong incentive to be on the field.
“McFadden received a $200,000 signing bonus and that’s the only guaranteed money in the two-year deal.” Wrote Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. “There is $2.85 million in incentives as part of the contract.”
The question becomes what can the Dallas Cowboys expect out of the one time can’t miss prospect? Well, the belief seems to be that Run DMC will be a secondary back. The Cowboys can either run with Joseph Randle as the top back, or look to the draft.
Either way a running back by committee approach could lead to McFadden getting between five and ten carries a game. If he can average close to his 4.1 yards per carry average, this will end up looking like a steal.
McFadden shares my belief that this will be a season to remember for him.
“I don’t even think I can explain it in words,” McFadden said via ESPN.com. “I’m excited about it. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve had an up-and-down career in the NFL, but I’m a pro about things. I go about things the right way, so I want to come out here and perform the way that I can and just show everybody what I’m capable of all along. It’s a lot to prove. I still feel that way. I don’t feel that people have seen the best of me in the NFL. I can only go up from where I’ve been. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
My prediction for McFadden is that he will be similar to the pick up the team made last year with his former teammate linebacker Rolando McClain. The former top ten pick was a blessing to the defense and revitalized his career. I believe that McFadden will do the same thing and once again, the Cowboys will again have the last laugh.