Proposed ‘Splash’ Trade Sends Cowboys New $8 Million Starting Running Back

Javonte Williams

Getty Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams is being floated as a potential trade target for the Dallas Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys are still in the market for a new starting running back and the options are dwindling in NFL free agency. Dallas may need to turn to the trade market to add reinforcements at the position.

Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine provided several potential trade options for the Cowboys to make a “splash” ahead of the 2024 NFL draft. One name to watch is Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams.

The trade proposal has Dallas sending their third-round pick (No. 87 overall) in the upcoming draft to Denver in exchange for Williams. Depending on how the NFL draft plays out, the move would make Williams the favorite to be the Cowboys starting running back in Week 1.

“The trade market should be explored as well. Javonte Williams’ name hasn’t really come up through the rumor mill, but he’s a logical target,” Ballentine wrote in a March 27, 2024 story titled, “Cowboys’ Top Hypothetical Trades to Make Splash in 2024 NFL Draft.”

“For one, he only has one year left on his contract and has a reasonable $1.9 million salary. Injuries have impacted Williams early NFL career, but the talent is there for him to have a big season if he’s healthy.”

Cowboys Rumors: Broncos Running Back Javonte Williams Would Give Dallas a New Potential Starter

What is the argument for the Cowboys giving up a mid-round draft pick for Williams? Dallas would be banking on Williams’ upside after the start of his career has been derailed by injuries.

“Williams had 1,219 total yards while splitting the backfield in his rookie season back in 2021,” Ballentine added. “However, he tore his ACL and LCL four games into his second season. He returned in 2023, but saw a sharp decline in his performance.

“Here, the Cowboys would have the opportunity to buy low on the running back and potentially reap the benefits of a breakout season two years removed from the injury.”

The Dallas Cowboys May Be Better Off Drafting a Running Back Than Trading for a Veteran

Weeks into NFL free agency, the lone move Dallas has made at running back is re-signing Rico Dowdle. This despite the market being one of the deepest running back groups in recent years.

It is also puzzling considering the Cowboys lost former starter Tony Pollard to the Tennessee Titans. The Cowboys could still turn to the NFL draft in order to find the team’s next RB1.

Williams played in 16 games for the Broncos in 2023, including 13 starts. The veteran posted 217 carries for 774 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in 2023. Williams added a career-high 47 catches for 228 yards and 2 TDs through the air.

The playmaker would be a limited financial commitment for Dallas as Williams heads into the final season of a four-year, $8.8 million contract. Williams has a $2.8 million cap hit for 2024, much less than the $10 million Pollard carried last season.

A third-round pick still seems a little rich for Williams given the Cowboys may be able to find a potential starter with this selection. The rookie option would have less punishment, most likely a more favorable injury history and would not require Dallas to give up a draft pick via trade.