Cowboys Could Land Ex-$21 Million Super Bowl Champ Playmaker: Analyst

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Cowboys could be an ideal landing spot for RB Leonard Fournette.

The Dallas Cowboys could be in the market for a former Super Bowl champion.

As proposed by The Landry Hat’s Jerry Trotta, the Cowboys could have a “contingency” plan when it pertains to a replacement for running back Ezekiel Elliott. While Dallas could select a running back in the 2023 NFL draft to replace the recently released Elliott, they could also sign a veteran running back.

One of the running backs proposed is none other than former Tampa Bay Buccaneers starter Leonard Fournette. The 28-year-old was recently released by the Buccaneers in a salary cap move after signing a three-year, $21 million contract last offseason. Trotta argues that not only is Fournette an “affordable” option, he’s a “people-mover.”

“Fournette’s days of being an elite between-the-tackles back may be coming to an end, but he’s still a people-mover and averaged 2.31 yards after contact per attempt in 2022 despite running behind a horrid offensive line,” says Trotta.

Trotta makes sure to stress that if Dallas does sign the six-year veteran, it would likely occur later on in the offseason after the NFL draft.

“A move to the Cowboys could be just what Fournette needs to jumpstart the backend of is career,” says Trotta. “The only caveat here is that the six-year pro likely would’ve only sign in Dallas if the team didn’t draft a running back in April.”

Why Leonard Fournette is Still a Productive RB

While Fournette did suffer through a rough season rushing the football (3.5 yards per carry), he turned in one of the best receiving seasons of his career, catching 73 passes for 523 yards and three touchdowns. His number of receptions ranked third on the team and it ranked third among all running backs in the NFL.

Furthermore, as Trotta mentions, Fournette averaged 2.31 yards after contact per attempt last season. When it pertained to rushing the football, Fournette’s average yards before contact was 2.0 yards per attempt. Among the top 46 leading rushers, Fournette’s average was the second-worst mark, which is a sign of how bad the Buccaneers’ offensive line was last season.

How Cowboys Can Use Leonard Fournette

Considering Fournette does continue to break tackles and just turned in one of the best receiving performances of any running back last season, he would be a worthy addition for a contender with Super Bowl aspirations. Dallas is beefing up on veteran stars for the 2023 season, having acquired cornerback Stephon Gilmore and wide receiver Brandin Cooks via trade. When factoring in that Fournette is a former Super Bowl starter, it wouldn’t hurt at all to add him as a complementary back to Tony Pollard, who is coming off of a fractured fibula injury.

In fact, if Pollard does get banged up during the season, Fournette can easily take over as a short-term starter. In fact, during the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl run during the 2020 season, Fournette wasn’t initially the starting running back — it was Ronald Jones. It wasn’t until Week 15 of the 2020 season that Fournette took over the starting job. In Dallas, he can be an experienced insurance policy in case Pollard can’t handle full-time running back duties.

With Fournette nearing the age of 30 and considering teams aren’t exactly in demand for a running back at this stage of free agency, the Cowboys can sign the bruising back to a bargain deal.

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