IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys are clearly making good on their intention to bring back their own, as they brought back their seventh in-house free agent on Thursday.
The team agreed to terms on a one-year deal with running back Lance Dunbar on Thursday, securing his services for a fifth season. Multiple reports are pegging the contract at about $1.75 million for the one year. Dunbar officially signed the paperwork on Friday morning, but he took to Twitter on Thursday night to report the news:
Dunbar has been one of the more interesting cases of the Cowboys' free agency period due to his injury from the 2015 season. The four-year veteran proved his worth within the offense last season, as he caught 21 passes for 215 yards in the first four weeks of the season.
Unfortunately, Dunbar suffered both a torn ACL and a torn patellar tendon during the Week 4 loss to the Saints last year. He missed the final 12 games of the season, and he is still in the middle of a lengthy rehab.
That helps explain the lengthy wait to re-sign him, and it also explains the terms of the contract. The Cowboys clearly like Dunbar, but the contract should serve as a bit of a "prove it" deal for a running back who has battled injury in his career. Dunbar missed the last four games of the 2013 seasons when he suffered a knee injury during one of the best games of his career – an 82-yard rushing effort against Oakland.
It looked like there was no shortage of interest in Dunbar during the free agency period -- before he ultimately returned to Dallas. He took visits to San Francisco and Seattle last week, and he visited with the Chicago Bears on Wednesday.
Ideally, Dunbar will bolster the Cowboys' depth at running back – though he still has a lot of work to do. He suffered both injuries in mid-October, and it'll be an interesting wait to see when he can return to the field. If there is some good news, it's that Morris Claiborne suffered a similar setback in the fall of 2014 and was ready in time for training camp last summer.
Once he returns to the lineup, Dunbar has proven he can be a versatile option as both a receiver and a runner. He bolsters the running back depth behind Darren McFadden – though it's still widely expected that the Cowboys will draft a running back in next month's NFL draft.