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Mailbag: Is free agent RB the answer?


Fans are seeing headlines about bringing in a free agent like Derrick Henry, but I have been trying to recall the last free agent running back who signed elsewhere and continued to have the same amount of success. Is history enough to avoid free agency to fill the hole? Or is there already enough pressure and question marks about this team that everyone will sleep better at night with a guy who has been there, done that? – Nate Mattison/Glens Falls, NY

Nick Eatman: The answer is both. At this point the running back position needs a lot of help so I would imagine the Cowboys will definitely address it in free agency. The type of player they get there will ultimately affect where they address the position in the draft. I think if you look at the rushing leaders every year, you are correct in thinking that most of them are younger players with their original team. There are some exceptions such as Christian McCaffrey, who was not a free agent, but traded from the Panthers to the 49ers we saw Montgomery in Detroit have some success last year, but for the most part doesn't happen a lot. I still believe the Cowboys will try to put a Band-Aid on the position by getting someone in free agency and then will also try to hit a Homerun in the draft and at this position, sometimes home runs can occur at any round in the draft. My point is that the Cowboys will certainly, look to upgrade here and I would think the running back position will look completely different in a few months.  

Kurt: Last season, Detroit signed David Montgomery (1,015) and Miami brought back Raheem Mostert (1,012), and they finished ninth and 10th, respectively, in rushing yards. You can also throw Tony Pollard and Saquon Barkley in there as they were both set to hit free agency before being slapped with the franchise tag. Pollard ranked 12th (1,005) and Barkley 16th (962). So free-agent running backs can find success. Still, of the top-10 highest paid running backs last year, only three finished in the top 10 for rushing yards. Of the top-20 highest paid, nine also ranked in the top-20 for rushing. In other words, teams can get production from the position without spending big. is estimating Henry's market value at $10.3 million a season. I just don't think the Cowboys should pay that for a 30-year-old running back when they need help in other areas. Instead, I hope they address the position in the draft, perhaps as early as day two, and then add depth if needed with team-friendly contract options. In the NFL today, there is just simply more value to be had spending money elsewhere.

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