Darren McFadden a Smart Low Risk/High Reward Signing


Jerry finally got his man, right? Darren McFadden has been the subject of Jerry Jones’ affection ever since McFadden’s days back at Arkansas. Going #4 overall in the 2008 draft, the Cowboys never had a realistic chance of acquiring the budding superstar…until now. But this is much more than love for a former Razorback, this is a smart business decision that holds limited risk and possible windfall reward.

The Cowboys began their courtship of Darren McFadden weeks ago, according to Yahoo’s Charles Robinson. This wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction to losing DeMarco Murray, but rather the plan all along.

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Once upon a time, Darren McFadden appeared to be the next great NFL running back, but his time in the NFL has been marred with poor performances and a plethora of injuries. Chalk it up to playing for the Raiders or a misevaluation of talent, but the man was once beastly on the field, so a low-cost “look-see” sounds like a great move.

At 6’2” 210lbs Darren McFadden looks every bit the part. In college, the two time Heisman runner-up was dominant on the field utilizing quickness, breakaway speed, and superior upper body strength. All of these traits he’s flashed sporadically throughout his NFL career, but failed to do so with any consistency.

Will he ever be the player he was once projected to be? Of course not. The dude looked like OJ Simpson for goodness sakes. But that doesn’t mean he can’t contribute big, if dropped in the right situation. And the Cowboys happen to have the best possible situation a talented RB could ask for.

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With 3 Pro Bowl O-Linemen yet to hit their primes, a QB that can make all the throws, a deep threat that prevents stacking the box, Darren McFadden hit the figurative lottery signing with the Cowboys. Not in money, but in opportunity.

As Todd Archer reported

, the money portion of this signing is clearly in the Cowboys’ favor.

At 2 years, and up to $5.85M with only $200k guaranteed, this is about as low-risk as you can get. This provides the perfect opportunity for a 27 year old running back to make good on his last great chance at making a difference in the NFL. Never underestimate the power of desperation, and McFadden is absolutely desperate for success.

The early interest in McFadden indicates the Cowboys were interested in just adding him to the mix, rather than looking for a clear replacement. McFadden still has superior speed and strength. His one-cut and sprint down field running style is perfect for this Dallas Cowboys’ run blocking scheme. This isn’t just about Jerry getting his man, this is about Stephen making smart business decisions.

Surprisingly, Darren McFadden is still relatively young. At 27 years old, he’s only a few months older than his predecessor, DeMarco Murray. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to see McFadden come up big in 2015 in a committee or even majority role. After all, he’s got Dez, Tony and that great offensive line aiding in his success.

The low guaranteed money is very notable. If Darren McFadden proves to be a bum, he can be cut without any notable impact to the salary cap. If he comes up big, the Cowboys can increase his role and keep him for the entirety of the contract. This is a very low risk/high reward situation that benefits the Dallas Cowboys heading into the draft as well the 2015 NFL season.

"It’s important to keep in mind that Darren McFadden is not replacing DeMarco Murray."

This was a move the Cowboys wanted to make for some time, and it involves an open competition between Joseph Randle, Ryan Williams, and the impending RB draft pick. This is a collection of parts replacing a star player, all while saving millions of dollars that can be invested in upgrading the Cowboys’ talent-deficient defense.

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