Lance Dunbar was on track to have a big season with the Dallas Cowboys. He was thriving as both a rusher and pass catcher while Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle battled for time on the field. However, that quickly changed when Dunbar went down with a torn ACL in a contract season. Now facing uncertainty, could the running back still return in 2016?
According to ESPN's Todd Archer, there is still a chance that Dunbar returns to the Cowboys in 2016, but it might be a on a short-term deal rather than a lengthy one. The running back put up 215 yards receiving and 67 yards rushing in three full games of play. He went down at the start of the second half in Week 4. He could have been on track for single-season highs had he noted gotten hurt. ESPN reports the Cowboys like Dunbar and the versatility he brings. With just McFadden left out of last season's rotation, the Cowboys could make Dunbar's return a priority.
"It's very frustrating," Dunbar said, via ESPN.com. "My whole career every time I got an opportunity, I got hurt or something bad happened. It just makes me stronger to keep fighting through all the adversity and get better. I'll have another opportunity and when it comes I'll be ready for it."
The Cowboys need another running back, there is no doubting that. While McFadden emerged as the lead back in 2015, his history says that might not happen twice. Yes, McFadden was the workhorse the Cowboys needed, but he cannot do it all on his own and the team needs to think of the future of the position. The free agent market is loaded with talent. If the Cowboys want to win now, adding someone like Matt Forte to run tandem with McFadden and potentially Dunbar could make for a productive ground game. However, Forte does not have too many years left. Lamar Miller, Alfred Morris, Chris Ivory and LeGarrette Blount are all younger options that might be able to stick around for longer.
The Cowboys could also draft a running back for the future which is what many have predicted them to do. According to the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys will draft high in the second round and could use that pick to get a running back. Derrick Henry and Ezekiel Elliott will be the first two running backs off the board. Alex Collins or Kenneth Dixon could be later-round options. There is no question considering the number of carries he had at Alabama that Henry could be the perfect replacement to DeMarco Murray. That might be the better move as the Cowboys look down the road.