Former Cowboys RB Signs With Broncos in Free Agency

JaQuan Hardy

Getty Former Dallas Cowboys RB JaQuan Hardy makes a move during an NFL game.

The Dallas Cowboys are going to see another familiar face for their preseason opener, as a former running back of the team has joined the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos and the Cowboys will square off on August 13 to kick off their respective seasons, with the game set to be played at 8 p.m. Central time at Empower Field at Mile High.

The saga surrounding Randy Gregory is still fresh in the minds of Cowboys fans, but now they’ll have a different ex-Cowboy to root against: Running back Jaquan Hardy.

Reports of Hardy signing with the Broncos were confirmed by the NFL’s waiver wire announcing the addition of the 24-year-old running back. who joins the roster alongside former Broncos running back Stevie Scott. The two were added in place of undrafted free agent RB Tyriek McAllister, who was designated as waived/injured on Wednesday.

Hardy worked out for the Broncos in early August before working out with the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 6, but Denver is where Hardy will begin the next phase of his NFL career after a rookie season with Dallas in 2021.

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Hardy Looking to Broncos After Rookie Season

As Heavy broke down recently, Hardy is coming off what can only be considered a successful season for a undrafted free agent. Especially in his position, as the Cowboys signed the former Tiffin star after the 2021 NFL draft despite having Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard and Rico Dowdle in front of him.

However, Hardy put in the work and impressed in his first offseason enough to make the practice squad to start the Cowboys’ 2021 regular season. Injuries are inevitable and are one of the key ways that guys like Hardy get a chance, and that’s exactly what happened last year.

Dowdle suffered a hip injury before the regular season began, and then Pollard went through a foot issue that required the Cowboys to bring up Hardy as depth and for special teams. As Pro Football Reference shows, his chances were still limited.

Over his two primary appearances last year, Hardy received four touches that he took for 29 rushing yards and a touchdown. Obviously some very small numbers, but Hardy took the chance he was given last year.

He was cut a few weeks back in mid-July, as the team needed to address depth issues at linebacker by adding former Texas LB Malik Jefferson. By releasing him as early as they did, the Cowboys actually assisted Hardy get another shot at an NFL roster if they knew he wasn’t in the plans for the 2022 season.

Current Cowboys Running Back Room

Elliott, Pollard and Dowdle were already with Dallas when Hardy was signed and are still with the team now, as the trio appear to be the primary plan of attack for the Cowboys’ rushing game in 2022.

Elliott and Pollard need little introduction, but Dowdle is returning after missing all of the 2021 season and having a similarly small role to Hardy’s in his rookie season in 2020. PFR states that Dowdle had just seven touches in 2020, earning 24 yards in 15 total appearances.

There’s also Malik Davis, who joined the Cowboys as a UDFA after this year’s draft. Davis was a five-year player at Florida, totaling 1470 rushing yards and averaging 5.2 yards per carry for the Gators.

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