IRVING, Texas – Felix Jones' name may have popped up this week in conflicting reports on whether the fifth-year running back has been the subject of trade rumors, but head coach Jason Garrett's comments about Jones during last month's NFL meetings suggested he'll remain an integral part of the offense in 2012.
"With Felix one of the things that's exciting about him is he can handle a lot of different roles and a lot of different things," Garrett said. "I think he's proven to himself and to us and the league is he can run the ball inside. That's not something he did a lot of when he was in college (Arkansas) playing with (Darren) McFadden and to a certain extent Peyton Hillis. He was more of a space player there within the offense that he played.
"He showed his versatility in whatever role we've given him he seemed to step up and do a nice job for us."
Jones and Murray played in only four games together after Murray had established himself as the primary ball carrier at midseason. Many project Jones to be a change of pace for Murray, who's returning from ankle surgery, but Garrett says both backs are basically interchangeable.
"One of the things we like about them is that they're both versatile and you can't say DeMarco is the inside guy and Felix is the outside guy, or Felix is this and DeMarco is that," Garrett said. "Both of those guys can go in there and do anything we're asking them to do, and that's an exciting prospect for a coach."
Jones is entering the final year of his 2008 rookie contract. It's not out of the question that the Cowboys take a running back at some point in this year's draft, but if not, they already have a stable core of Murray, Jones and Phillip Tanner for at least 2012.