Cowboys Could Have Chance to Land $50 Million Pro Bowl Star, Says Analyst

Jerry Jones

Getty Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones speaks to media members at a press conference.

The Dallas Cowboys continue to explore ways to replace Ezekiel Elliott, but ESPN’s Bill Barnwell noted a couple star running backs may hit the market later this offseason. According to Barnwell, star playmakers Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook are potential cut candidates following the draft.

Henry is particularly interesting as the star has rushed for more than 1,500 yards in three of the last four seasons. The NFL analyst believes the Cowboys would “prefer” to add another veteran rather than relying on a rookie running back given Tony Pollard’s injury. Dallas already signed Ronald Jones but are likely still in the market to add another back.

“There’s also a chance expensive veterans such as Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook could be released after the draft,” Barnwell wrote on March 30, 2023. “Dallas could add a rookie in April’s draft, but Pollard’s uncertain status for Week 1 leads me to believe the team would probably prefer to have a more experienced back on the roster.”

Henry still has one season remaining on a four-year, $50 million contract and is slated to have a $10.5 million salary in 2023. The Cowboys are an unlikely trade match given the team is already on the hook to pay Pollard $10 million on the franchise tag for 2023. Yet, the team could take a different stance if the Titans surprisingly make Henry a cap casualty.

The Titans Attempted to Quiet the Derrick Henry Trade Rumors

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The Titans rusher bounced back last season after playing in just eight games in 2021 as Henry posted 1,538 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Henry also added 33 catches for 398 receiving yards during 16 appearances in 2022.

Despite plenty of chatter about a possible blockbuster trade, Titans general manager Ran Carthon used the league meetings to shoot down the idea that the team plans to deal Henry. Carthon called the trade rumor an “erroneous report” adding that the franchise’s relationship with Henry is in a “good place.”

“Titans GM Ran Carthon said both the team and Derrick Henry are in a good place when asked about the relationship after they were reportedly shopping him,” ESPN’s Turron Davenport tweeted on March 28.

Ezekiel Elliott Returning to the Cowboys ‘Could Be in the Cards,’ Says Analyst

Even if Henry hits the open market, the Cowboys making a competitive offer is likely a long shot given the team just moved on from Elliott. Spotrac projects Henry’s market value to be a two-year, $30 million deal, but it would be a surprise if a franchise is willing to pay $15 million annually for a 29-year-old running back given the lukewarm market we have witnessed in free agency. Barnwell is not convinced that Elliott will move on from the Cowboys despite being released.

“A reunion could be in the cards if he doesn’t find what he’s looking for on the open market,” Barnwell explained. “Elliott had reportedly narrowed down his list of teams to the Bengals, Eagles and Jets, but none of those teams appears to be interested in finalizing a deal with the 27-year-old.

“… In the right role as an early down back and pass protector, Elliott could still be a useful contributor to a winning football team, but that sort of player usually lands about $3-4 million in free agency. After making just over $50 million across the past four seasons in Dallas, he might not be experiencing the hometown premium at the thought of returning for that sort of money.”