The Dallas Cowboys are making headlines again. Thoughts of making a trade involving their first round pick next year are the topic of discussion. No one mentioned Adrian Peterson, but that was what the media jumped to conclusion to and what many will have you believe. No one mentioned that the Vikings are not interested in trading Adrian Peterson for one pick. No one mentioned that the Cowboys said that they would consider it, as it being an option not the plan.
Adrian Peterson is a phenomenal football player, an All-world talent. He has been something special since his days in Palestine, Texas where his legend begun. Stories where he was on defense, he would beat his man, crush the quarterback so hard that they caused a fumble and would take the ball 60 or 70 yards the other way for a touchdown. With in 20 yards of him taking off, players just stopped chasing him. His father saw it in him early, hence the nickname “All Day.”
In college, he was an instant star the moment he stepped onto the field in Norman, Oklahoma. His freshmen year, Peterson carried the ball 339 times rushing for 1925 yards and 15 touchdowns. Injuries might have derailed the future All-American and Heisman Finalist, but he never rushed for less than 1,000 yards in either of his three seasons at Oklahoma. He was fast, quick, powerful and unstoppable. The scary thing is, he still is. The six-time pro bowler and three-time All-Pro will most likely finish top five in rushing yards once he hangs up his jersey. Peterson is greatness. But greatness has its price.
In the next three seasons, Peterson is slotted to make $44.25 million dollars. The 30-year-old running back is halfway through a six year deal that was worth $86.28 million dollars with $36 million guaranteed. To keep his services in Minnesota, Peterson’s team is reportedly asking for another $25 million in guaranteed money over two or three years. Honestly ask yourself is this the financial flexibility that the Cowboys want? If the Cowboys really wanted to sign a premier running back, why not keep the one you had for more than half of what Peterson wants?
We rave about this offensive line. We talk about its potential to be dominant, to be great. Not just this year, but for a decade. That would be historic. To keep three or four pro bowl caliber type of players will take financial flexibility. Tony Romo will need this line to help prevent further injury to himself and prolong his career. Hopefully, the Cowboys can find a suitable replacement with Romo still on roster. You don’t want history to repeat itself and be wandering around the NFL without a QB. Need I remind you, the post Troy Aikman years saw a win percentage of 41% and one playoff berth. Until then, a healthy Romo is our best shot at winning a Super bowl.
Consider also the fact that when running backs can be found anywhere, many want to over pay and mortgage a part of their future when a capable running back can suffice.
A capable running back is currently on the Cowboys roster. In a sample size of touches, Joseph Randle produced for this team last year. Randle had 51 carries for 343 yards. That is an average of 6.7 yards a carry. He has earned his chance. The notion that he can’t be the work horse since he haven’t been is insane. I suppose that Aaron Rodgers couldn’t lead the Packers since Brett Farve was doing it previously. A super bowl and MVP later, and he is one of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation. The Cowboys had a good running back. He is no longer here. Next man up. Give Randle a shot. Have we forgot that he produced in college for Oklahoma State? Take his 2011 and 2012 seasons. Randle rushed for 2,633 yards and had 38 touchdowns. He has been a productive starter before. Randle has made some mistakes off the field (drugs, violence and theft). He has acknowledged them and is currently moving forward. Let us not be hindered by our mistakes but brought back on track by them. Let us learn and grow from them to be better people.
Darren McFadden was also brought in. Will he replace the production of Murray? No. But he can contribute. He can add to the running game and provide something that we haven’t seen lately. Run DMc still has some speed a burst about him. Again, he will be playing behind a great offensive line. Where cracks become alleys and alleys become highways. Why not let a guy with his pedigree be unloaded against opposing teams? Let him get loose around the edge and see what happens. Trust what you have built. Before you go grocery shopping, check your pantry to see what you have. You could very well have enough for a feast.
No one saw DeMarco Murray having the success he had last year. The change came when the Cowboys made a commitment to the running game. Not the runner, the running game. They knew that a balanced attack is the most dangerous strategy on offense. This won’t change. The next running back or group of running backs will inherit this line and get every chance to produce at a high level, either separately or collectively. The opportunity is there. Now is their time to run with it.