The Dallas Cowboys faced a lot of questions about their run game entering the 2015 season. The team opted not to re-sign DeMarco Murray following his leading-rusher season. Instead, they signed Darren McFadden to add to a rotation of Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar. Nothing worked to plan in that category for the Cowboys which will have the team exploring options in the offseason.
Of the rotation the Cowboys started with, only McFadden was left standing at the end of the season. Dunbar suffered a season-ending injury. Randle was released. Christine Michael spent time with the team and was let go. Robert Turbin was brought on, but he is a free agent at the end of the year. McFadden did put up a solid season with 1,089 yards while carrying the ball a career-high 239 times. By all accounts, he was worth bringing on, but can he sustain the success?
"Just some of the down years I've had," McFadden said via DallasNews.com, "with injuries and things and having to deal with that, so it'll definitely mean a lot to me being able to go out there and pick up 1,000 yards. That's always been a knock on me as far as being durable and injuries and things. So I just feel like I showed a lot of people that I can go out there and stay healthy and still run the ball at a high pace in this league."
McFadden's resume is not kind for him. According to ESPN's Todd Archer, longevity of health is a major concern for the Cowboys. McFadden's injury history is lengthy and there is doubt that he can maintain the success. Archer believes that McFadden will stay put in Dallas, but either a free agent or rookie will be joining him.
The Cowboys must decide between youth in the draft or a free agent. With the No.4 pick in the first round, the Cowboys will draft early in the second round. That means they could get their hands on Derrick Henry or Ezekiel Elliott, the best two at the position. Henry has been deemed a perfect fit in Dallas considering he has been a workhorse for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Elliott is another solid option ready to start immediately.
The free agent market is loaded in 2016. Matt Forte, Lamar Miller, Chris Ivory, Alfred Morris and LeGarrette Blount all highlight the talent pool the Cowboys could pick from. Players like Miller, Ivory and Morris will not come cheap. They will try and capitalize on their worth. Forte will do the same thing despite his age. That could push Dallas to eye the draft instead in order to save salary cap space to use elsewhere.