Cowboys Floated as Suitor for Future Hall of Fame Running Back

Jerry Jones

Getty Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

The Dallas Cowboys are still tinkering with their backfield and future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson has been floated as a potential option.

Peterson did not play last season but isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet, per Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“Mentally, I haven’t officially hung it up,” Peterson told Hill. “We’ll see what happens. My mindset is, if God’s willing maybe an opportunity presents itself and maybe it happens this season. I’ll go from there to your. But nothing happens this season. For sure, I will be hanging it up.”

Hill floated the idea of Peterson coming home and finishing his career with the Cowboys.

“Peterson was once linked to the Cowboys following his departure from the Vikings,” Hill said. “Following the release of Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys are in the market for short-yardage back. Could Peterson be an option in training camp or some point in 2023?”

The idea of adding Peterson might have been intriguing years ago, back when Peterson was still churning out 1,000-yard seasons and was one of the top backs in the league. But the 38-year-old former MVP has been out of the game and received only light work in 2021 with the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks, registering 38 carries.

Even if he entered the fold as a minor contributor behind Tony Pollard, it’d be hard to make the case for Peterson to occupy a roster spot, although his experience and locker room presence in a young running back room would be something the Cowboys value.

Peterson has rushed for 14,918 — No. 5 on the all-time list — and 120 touchdowns in his career.

Cowboys Confident Ronald Jones Can Contribute

The Cowboys signed Ronald Jones this offseason shortly after cutting ties with Elliott. He’s not a replacement for Elliott but the Cowboys are hoping he can add some competition to the backfield, which also includes Malik Davis and rookie Deuce Vaughn.

Jones is a two-time Super Bowl champ and has collected 2,244 yards over five seasons. He won a Super Bowl last season with the Kansas City Chiefs but received very limited work, registering 17 carries for 70 yards. Despite that, the Cowboys are bullish on the idea that Jones can be a contributor.

“He’s an NFL quality back,” Cowboys’ vice president of player personnel Will McClay said. “His run style fits what we do. He’s young enough to continue to grow and add something to us. And, again, we’re adding an experienced back that knows what it’s like in the NFL, that fits the system well, and he’s got some upside to be able to be a three-down back and some of those things.”

Ezekiel Elliott Reunion Not Off the Table for Cowboys

The Cowboys have another veteran option they could consider to fill out their depth chart in Elliott. Dallas couldn’t afford to keep him on the roster at his previous salary and saved almost $11 million by letting him go. However, at a lower figure in a lesser role, Elliott could still make an impact for the Cowboys.

Elliott plowed his way for a dozen touchdowns last season with the Cowboys but he rushed for a career-low 876 yards and managed just 3.8 yards per carry. He hasn’t received many bites as a free agent but Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hasn’t ruled out a reunion.

“That ship hasn’t sailed yet. We haven’t made a decision,” Jones said after the draft. “Nothing we did today changes that.”

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