June 24, 2024

With their top two ball carriers on expiring contracts, could the Cowboys’ RB position be headed into a major overhaul in 2024?

This offseason, the Cowboys roster will see varying degrees of change. In 2024, some groups might witness just slight changes, while others might see drastic changes. Running back is one position that might see a lot of upheaval because Rico Dowdle and Tony Pollard are both eligible for free agency.

The case for Tony Pollard as one of the NFL's best running backs in 2022 |  NFL News, Rankings and Statistics | PFF

Pollard was, if it can be said so, quietly productive under his 2023 franchise tag. Pollard finished the season with 1,005 running yards, 311 receiving yards, and six touchdowns despite only having one 100-yard game. Despite playing in all 17 regular-season games and the playoffs, he saw his numbers dwindle due to career-low efficiency. His lone rush and catch totals were 4.0 and 5.7 yards, respectively.

In his fourth season with the team, Dowdle finally maintained his health and produced. Despite being the backup and only seeing action on 22% of the offensive plays, Dowdle managed to score four touchdowns, 361 rushing yards, and 144 receiving yards. While his 4.1 average per run was comparable to Pollard’s, he performed better in the receiving game with 8.5 per grab.

This offseason, both are expected to become unrestricted free agents. Pollard will soon reach 27 and Dowdle will turn 26—not exactly peak ages in the context of today’s RB world. Additionally, the Cowboys may believe that it would be preferable to choose less expensive options and use their cap space to reinforce the offensive line and other areas of the team following a disappointing season running the ball.

Because of his poor injury history and minimal NFL profile, it would be simpler to bring Dowdle back. Being an excellent all-around back, he might be given the opportunity to stay on at a backup’s wage. Again, though, before taking the deal to remain in Dallas, he should check to see whether there is any need for his services.

We should take a close look at the 49ers’ desperate need for another game-winning play.

When Vaughn or Davis are the Cowboys’ primary runners for the upcoming season, even the most devoted pet cat lovers will scratch their heads. Based on what we’ve seen so far, neither should be at the top of a depth chart, even though they might fill it out. Dallas appears to be in the market for a new RB1.

Although it is visually appealing to sign a proven player like Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, or Derrick Henry, Dallas’ current running back strategy does not align with this philosophy. This seems to be the year for a “Moneyball” strategy after their experiences with Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott, in addition to cap concerns at other positions.

Perhaps they take a chance on a little older free agent with productivity potential in the right plan, such as Cam Akers or Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Alternatively, they could target the draft, possibly reaching the second round, in order to obtain four years of inexpensive labour from a fresh pair of legs. Dallas would want to avoid paying premium money and get subpar results by keeping cap costs low and hoping for unexpected production.

Ironically, Zeke is currently the most expensive RB on the 2024 salary cap. Of course, he is no longer on the team, but even after his release in 2023, Dallas will continue to pay $6 million in dead money. One more justification not

Whether Deuce Vaughn or Malik Davis are much more than camp bodies will have to wait and be seen. Even with the preseason glimpses and post-draft hoopla, Vaughn was underutilised and disappointing during the regular season. Although Davis was on the practice squad most of the year, he has at least shown that he is capable of performing admirably when given in-game touches.

Seeing how the Cowboys perceive Hunter Luepke at fullback will also be interesting. Although he only played 13% of the offensive snaps, he was frequently used on special teams. Maybe he can improve technically and physically in the offseason to become a better lead blocker and receive more touches.

Seeing how the Cowboys perceive Hunter Luepke at fullback will also be interesting. Although he only played 13% of the offensive snaps, he was frequently used on special teams. Maybe he can improve technically and physically in the offseason to become a better lead blocker and receive more touches.

Running back is obviously a hot topic for Dallas’ offseason in 2024. Due to Rico Dowdle’s and Tony Pollard’s free agency, they begin at the top and work their way down. It’s difficult to estimate the Cowboys’ depth chart going into training camp at this stage.

 

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