Darren McFadden is back with the Cowboys after signing a one-year contract extension for $980,000, and he's expected to be No. 2 on the depth chart behind Ezekiel Elliott. In 2016, McFadden only appeared in three games after he suffered an arm injury in training camp, finishing with 24 carries for 87 yards and three catches for 17 yards. He likely won't get much work as long as Elliott is healthy, and we expect that if Elliott got hurt that the Cowboys would use McFadden and Alfred Morris in tandem. Still, McFadden projects as the handcuff for Elliott, and that makes him worth a late-round pick in all formats.
McFadden seems to have the No. 2 running back job locked down, David Moore of The Dallas Morning News reports. Despite losing nearly all of last season to an elbow injury, McFadden worked ahead of Alfred Morris -- who may be released before Week 1 -- during the Cowboys' offseason program. Ezekiel Elliott figures to handle a heavy workload in a three-down role, and while McFadden probably won't get many touches unless his young teammate is injured, the 29-year-old should at least have value as a handcuff. McFadden might even jump right into a similar three-down role in the event of an Elliott injury.
McFadden only received an $80,000 signing bonus on his one-year contract with the Cowboys, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. McFadden signed a veteran's minimum benefit contract, which means part of his $900,000 base salary will not count against the Cowboys' cap, though he'll still receive the money if he's with the team. While the cap benefit works in his favor, it's still quite telling that he settled for a contract with only $80,000 guaranteed, suggesting his value plummeted in the wake of a season that was mostly lost to a broken elbow. McFadden could still have a shot at the top backup job, as Alfred Morris has a larger contract and less versatility. Of the two, Morris is probably the one who would find his roster spot in jeopardy if the Cowboys were to select a running back or two in the upcoming draft.
McFadden has re-signed with the Cowboys on a one-year deal, Nick Eatman of DallasCowboys.com reports. McFadden broke his elbow last summer and didn't make his 2016 debut until Week 15, ultimately finishing the year with 24 carries for 87 yards and three catches for 17 yards. He'll now compete with Alfred Morris for backup touches behind Ezekiel Elliott, while pass-catching specialist Lance Dunbar signed with the Rams in free agency. McFadden's receiving ability could give him the edge over Morris in a backfield that no longer includes Dunbar.
McFadden played in only three games in 2016 due to an elbow injury, finishing with 24 carries for 87 yards and catching three passes on five targets for 17 yards. He topped 1000 yards rushing in 2015 for just the second time in his career, but his injury combined with the addition of Ezekiel Elliott prevented McFadden from making any kind of meaningful impact last year. He's a free agent this offseason, but it's not out of the question for the Cowboys to bring him back as veteran depth behind Elliott if the market for his services is soft.
McFadden carried seven times for 28 yards and caught two of three targets for 19 additional yards in Sunday's 27-13 loss to the Eagles. McFadden started the game as Ezekiel Elliott was held out, but he only received a third of the team's carries in the game as they distributed the burden in that category among several options. Although his workload was limited, McFadden looked explosive on a couple of different plays and will be one of the more capable backup runners active during the postseason.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/11||New York Giants||7||14.88|
|4||10/01||Los Angeles Rams||14||16.63|
|5||10/08||Green Bay Packers||11||15.42|
|7||10/22||@San Francisco 49ers||33||27.13|
|9||11/05||Kansas City Chiefs||17||17.59|
|12||11/23||Los Angeles Chargers||27||19.88|
|14||12/10||@New York Giants||7||14.88|
|3 Year Avg||139||570||2||26||186||0||87|