Once again, the Cowboys find themselves with over 20 players who have expiring contracts. But still, there's a large percentage of players on the roster already in place. Over the next few weeks, the staff writers will evaluate those players under contract, reviewing their past performances with an outlook to the future. Today, we'll continue the series with running back Malik Davis.
What Worked: An undrafted free agent from the University of Florida, Davis impressed the Cowboys during training camp enough to find his way onto the roster as the third running back after Rico Dowdle landed on injured reserve with an ankle injury early in the season. Davis saw action in 12 games, showing off his ability to be a pass catcher out of the backfield with six catches for 63 yards, as well as his rushing ability with 161 yards on 38 carries and a score.
What Needs Work: Davis only played 79 offensive snaps during his rookie season, which makes sense given that Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott were ahead of him on the depth chart. The problem going forward is whether or not consistent opportunities will come Davis' way or not in 2023 with the Cowboys. With Elliott no longer on the roster and Pollard on the mend from his broken fibula, Davis could get some runway early in the season.
His Best Work: Week 13 against the Colts was an offensive eruption for the Cowboys, bullying their way to a 54-19 win on Sunday Night Football. But to make sure everyone got in on the party, Davis ripped off a 23-yard touchdown with just over two minutes left in the game for his first career score.
Contract Considerations: The Cowboys aren't shelling out much money in relative terms when it comes to Davis. He's due his base salary of $870,000 in 2023, but could become an exclusive rights free agent following this season, meaning Davis will have amassed two seasons and an expired contract. Dallas could lock him in by extending a league minimum contract for one year, otherwise Davis would be free to sign anywhere.
What's Next: The running back spot will look different going forward. The Cowboys re-signed Dowdle as well as veteran Ronald Jones, and it's not out of the question another addition comes through the draft. Davis should have the inside track for the third running back spot again, or he could become a complementary piece with Pollard while seeing time on special teams as well.