The Dallas Cowboys could still be shopping for a running back


When the Dallas Cowboys traded the Seattle Seahawks a conditional seventh round selection for former Texas A&M running back Christine Michael last week, many believed the Cowboys were done shopping for running backs in Dallas. And those people would be wrong.

Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones confirmed as much in May when he told the Dallas Morning News:

"“Player acquisitions are 365 days a year. We’ll continue to look to improve our football team.”"

In that very same interview, Jones cited the actions of another NFL team that successfully filled a void at running back very late into the season last year.

"“I know a team that won a Super Bowl this year, the New England Patriots, that added a back [LeGarrette Blount] at the very end of the season and helped lead them to a Super Bowl. You never know when the right guy is going to be there.”"

You think the Cowboys are done shopping for a running back? Well, the fact is they are never done exploring options to upgrade this team. And with major question marks surrounding all four of the runners currently on their depth chart, Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden, Lance Dunbar and Christine Michael; the Cowboys philosophy about staying vigilant and always being on the lookout for the “right” guy is clear.

But longtime Cowboys columnist Rick Gosselin believes the Cowboys may be forced to find yet another running back to fill the void left by DeMarco Murray this offseason, as soon as next month. And here’s why:

"“The Cowboys have four players they need to judge in game conditions. If on October 1, the running back situation remains unsettled, I would not be surprised of the Cowboys go shopping,” Gosselin responded during a chat with fans that appeared on the Dallas Morning News site on Wednesday. “But there are elements to all of their games — Randle, McFadden, Dunbar and Michael — that they like.  They need to find out if one can emerge as a force or if the four talents can blend into a committee. But if this team struggles to run the ball in September, they won’t stand pat. There’s too much at stake in 2015.”"

Gosselin is right when he says the Cowboys have too much at stake this season. And that mainly revolves around the rapidly closing window 35-year old quarterback Tony Romo has. Certainly on the downslope of his career, but still playing at a high level, Romo doesn’t have many more chances at getting that much-needed Super Bowl victory to secure his legacy. And this front office will not allow this season to crumble due to a fiscally responsible decision they made when they refuse to overpay Murray.

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Unfortunately, the Cowboys may have to become fiscally irresponsible to find a talented running back during the regular season. Although there are names like Ray Rice, Steven Jackson and Montee Ball floating out in free agency, none of them would seem to be much better than what Dallas has on their depth chart already. Unless someone surprising falls into their laps, the Cowboys may be forced to overpay for a more talented running back.

The first name that comes to my mind is Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte. The 29-year old is in the final year of his contract in Chicago. The Bears are deep at the position with players like Jeremy Langford, Ka’Deem Carey and Jacquizz Rodgers waiting in the wings. And Forte is a versatile offensive weapon, who recorded a career-high 102 receptions in 2014, along with rushing for over 1,000 yards in nearly every one of his seven years as a professional. Obviously, his age is an issue. But if you have to win now, Forte may be the “right” guy.

How the Cowboys current stable of running backs perform this month should tell us everything we need to know about the immediate future of the position in Dallas. And I personally think they will flourish behind the Cowboys offensive line. But if this group stumbles out of the gate, don’t be surprised if Dallas decides to add another thoroughbred to the race.

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