Where Do Cowboys Go From Here at RB After Aaron Jones Signs with Vikings? - Sport News

Where Do Cowboys Go From Here at RB After Aaron Jones Signs with Vikings?

Free agency was always going to be a struggle for the Dallas Cowboys.

Given that the Cowboys have yet to find common ground on a contract extension or a restructured deal with quarterback Dak Prescott, much of the top talent available in free agency was quickly scooped up by teams with significantly more spending flexibility under the salary cap than Dallas’ $8.8 million.

After Tony Pollard departed for the Tennessee Titans, Saquon Barkley went off the board from the division-rival New York Giants to the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles, and D’Andre Swift came to terms on a new contract with the upstart Chicago Bears, the loaded running back market is suddenly looking pretty thin.

The Cowboys even missed out on the opportunity to sign former Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones, who the Packers released shortly after agreeing to terms with Josh Jacobs. Jones, instead intends to sign with the Minnesota Vikings.

Jones would have been an ideal scheme fit and reunited with head coach Mike McCarthy from the pair’s time together in Gren Bay.

While the debate over the value of running backs is as old as time, there’s no question that Rico Dowdle isn’t exactly in the same class as Barkley, new Giants running back Devin Singletary or Washington Commanders import Austin Ekeler.

So, where do the Cowboys go from here?

In a season that Jerry Jones claims Dallas is “all-in” on, the Cowboys risk being left out in the cold at running back which would significantly hamper Prescott and the offense’s upside in 2024.

Here’s a look at three remaining running back options that make sense for the Cowboys.

Wait for Derrick Henry’s Price to Come Down

Derrick Henry would be an ideal fit for how the Cowboys deploy running backs, and provide a short-yardage battering ram Dallas has lacked since Ezekiel Elliott’s departure.

Perhaps the fact that Henry did not come to terms on a deal on the first day of legal tampering could cause his price to come down. However, that seems unlikely.

Multiple reports have suggested that Henry has been in contact with the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders. A two-team bidding war likely pushes Henry out of Dallas’ price range. If Henry signs for more than $11.5 million per season, it’s difficult to envision the Cowboys playing in that market.

The Dallas Cowboys Could Sign Joe Mixon

The Cincinnati Bengals may have given the Cowboys a gift.

By releasing Joe Mixon midday Monday, after several top backs had already agreed to terms on their new deals, the 27-year-old’s price just might have been suppressed as a result.

This is where the Cowboys have the potential to pounce.

Mixon has averaged 4.1 yards per carry in his career and is coming off a 2023 campaign in which he rushed for 1,034 yards and nine touchdowns.

If Mixon winds up signing for less than $10 million, the Cowboys could be a terrific fit.

Wait to Draft a Running Back

Unfortunately for the Cowboys, this is not a strong class of running backs in the NFL Draft.

Texas running back Jonathan Brooks is the top-ranked player at the position on Pro Football Focus’ big board. Brooks is listed as the No. 64 ranked prospect in this year’s class.

Sure, the Cowboys could hold their breath and hope that Brooks is available with the No. 56 overall selection, or trade up in the second round to secure him. But, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be there and a move to take him could wind up being a reach.

Drafting a running back would be a far friendlier cap move, and depending on how the first few days of free agency play out, might be the direction Dallas is forced to take.

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