Mike McCarthy's history suggests Cowboys could pursue this out-of-favor veteran RB

Jan 8, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs for
Jan 8, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs for / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Stop me if you've heard this before since mid-March, but the Dallas Cowboys haven't identified a clearcut No. 2 running back behind Tony Pollard.

The Cowboys cut Ezekiel Elliott at the start of the new league year and turned around and gave Elliott's No. 21 jersey to Stephon Gilmore, which should mute any speculation about a potential reunion.

In the aftermath of Zeke's release, talking heads and the media have linked the Cowboys with a handful of running backs.

Damien Harris was a popular mention early on, but he came off the board early in the free agent process. The media wants Dalvin Cook in Dallas, but his expected cost takes him out of the running given the Cowboys already have $10.09 million committed to Pollard via the franchise tag.

Given Mike McCarthy's history as a head coach, though, Falcons' jack-of-all-trades specialist Cordarrelle Patterson might be the best fit.

The Cowboys should consider pursuing Cordarrelle Patterson to replace Ezekiel Elliott.

During McCarthy's tenure in Green Bay, the Packers spent a second round pick on Randall Cobb, whom they used out of the backfield often early in his career. Fast forward to 2015 and McCarthy's Packers used a third round pick on Ty Montgomery, who enjoyed his best seasons in the league doubling as a running back and receiver in McCarthy's offense.

Patterson has an eerily similar skillset to Cobb and Montgomery.

One of the best kick returners of all-time, Patterson made a seamless transition to a wide receiver/running back hybrid with the Falcons. In 2021, he rushed for 618 yards and six touchdowns on 4.0 yards per carry, and caught 52 passes for 525 yards and five scores.

Patterson took on a lesser role in 2022, but still compiled 817 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns on 4.8 yards per carry.

At 6-foot-2 and 218 pounds, Patterson profiles as a like-for-like Elliott replacement in short yardage situations and he just so happens to be out of favor in Atlanta's backfield that features No. 8 overall pick Bijan Robinson and 2022 fifth-round pick Tyler Allgeier, who rushed for 1,035 yards on 4.8 YPC as a rookie.

The Falcons currently have $9.973 million in cap space, per Over The Cap. Cutting or trading Patterson would save $4.25 million. Assuming Atlanta would shop him first before outright releasing him (if they're even mulling his future), Dallas could bide its time and end up with a Swiss-Army knife for pennies on the dollar.

On top of being just what the Cowboys need behind the speedy Pollard, Patterson is exactly the profile of RB McCarthy has fancied throughout his coaching career.

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