Rams head coach Sean McVay envisions Dunbar in a role that aligns with how the running back views himself, ESPN.com reports. "He had me going," Dunbar said. "He had me ready to play." Dunbar's one-year contract is worth up to $3 million, suggesting the Rams expect him to be an important part of the offense in a complementary role to early-down workhorse Todd Gurley. McVay mentioned Washington's Chris Thompson when explaining the role he envisions for Dunbar, who displayed impressive pass-catching chops during his time in Dallas. It seems as if Dunbar has a clear path to the No. 2 running back job, though the Rams likely would utilize a committee if Gurley were to suffer an injury.
Dunbar has agreed to a one-year deal with the Rams worth up to $3 million, ESPN's Adam Caplan reports. Dunbar played his first five NFL seasons with Dallas, but was largely an afterthought in 2016 with the addition of Ezekiel Elliot, as he carried the ball just nine times and a large portion of his snaps came on special teams. He'll still be a backup for Todd Gurley in Los Angeles, but the Rams have much less depth at the position than the Cowboys, setting up the 27-year-old back for a few more touches in his sixth NFL season. Dunbar will no longer have the league's best offensive line in front of him but should still bring his pass-catching abilities to open up the playbook on some third downs. It is worth noting, however, that Gurley improved significantly as a receiver in 2016, hauling in 43 receptions for 327 yards.
Dunbar will visit with the Rams, ESPN's Adam Caplan reports. Dunbar had a key role in the Dallas offense early in the 2015 season, catching 21 passes in four games before going down for the year with a torn ACL. He had a far more limited role while working behind Ezekiel Elliott last season, catching only 16 passes in 13 games while failing to show his prior explosiveness. Now another year removed from his ugly knee injury, the 27-year-old could perhaps re-emerge as a valuable contributor on passing downs if he finds a new NFL home. Los Angeles looks like a good fit, as fellow pass-catching back Benny Cunningham (neck) is currently a free agent. Lead back Todd Gurley has shown potential as a receiver, but it still makes sense to provide him with the majority of his rest on obvious passing downs.
Dunbar carried the ball three times for 20 yards and caught three of six targets for 19 yards in a 27-13 loss to the Eagles in Week 17. The 39 yards from scrimmage were actually a season high for Dunbar, who saw very little action in 2016 behind Ezekiel Elliott due to injuries and the emergence of Cole Beasley as Dak Prescott's preferred short-yardage receiving option. Dunbar can be an explosive player when he gets a chance, but even if he returns to Dallas in 2017, his touches will likely remain very limited.
Dunbar didn't receive a carry but caught three of five targets for 12 yards in Sunday's 10-7 loss to the Giants. The catches and targets were season highs for Dunbar, as were his 19 snaps on offense, but his third-down role is now in some jeopardy with Darren McFadden (elbow) expected to rejoin the active roster this week. Ezekiel Elliott sees the bulk of the action in the Dallas backfield anyway, but McFadden's considered a better blocker than Dunbar and Cole Beasley has solidified his hold on the slot receiver role, leaving very few situations in which Dunbar is the Cowboys' best option.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3 Year Avg||21||105||0||15||164||0||26|