The Dallas Cowboys will need to add potentially several running backs to their offensive rotation as they will see both Lance Dunbar and Darren McFadden potentially hit free agency.
Two of the biggest running backs of the last decade will be available as both Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson will become free agents in March. The Cowboys could look to potentially add one of these veterans to compliment their starter Ezekiel Elliott.
Charles is one of the best running backs in the history of the NFL but in recent years his production has waned thanks to injuries. He is one year younger than Peterson but has suffered more significant injuries over the years.
Charles has torn both of his ACL’s but when healthy he is an incredibly shifty and effective back. He may have only recorded 500 yards in the last two seasons but he had three straight 1,000 plus yard seasons in the years prior to his second knee injury.
Charles is due for a bounce back season before he retires and will be better protected behind the Cowboys offensive line. The main thing with Charles is that he is a speed back and while that would typically compliment Elliott’s hard hitting run style, no one is exactly sure of how his knees will hold up throughout the course of a season.
Peterson is a different story as he has shown the ability to come back from horrific injuries throughout his career. The Cowboys could use another hard hitting back to keep defenses tired even when Elliott is on the sidelines. The ideal situation for Peterson would be the role of a complimentary back who gets 8-10 touches a game.
That should keep him healthy and fresh for most of the season. The Minnesota Vikings historic running back may see himself as an every down back but if you remove the name Adrian Peterson from this conversation the decision would be completely obvious.
He has also stated that he wants to be a feature back and that does not really mesh with the current Dallas offense. Peterson’s value will be determined largely by a market dominated by struggling franchises with enough cap room to support his bloated contract.
If the market refuses to pay Peterson what he wants it is likely he will make a decision based on who is the closest to a Super Bowl title. The Cowboys have somewhat seemed destined to have AP on their roster for quite some time and Dallas could be the best place to end his career however only for the right price.
Both of these historic running backs will be competing with other talented veterans such as Eddie Lacy, DeAngelo Williams, and Chris Johnson. There are even younger players who may have not reached their full potential like Matt Asiata and Andre Ellington. The 2017 NFL Draft has an impressive crop of young running backs who could take on a massive workload with ease so it will be interesting to see which teams attempt to sign these legendary running backs.