Darren McFadden will become a free agent at the start of the new league year. Despite missing most of the 2016 season after elbow surgery, he thinks he’ll be back with the Dallas Cowboys in 2017. Even if the Cowboys move on from the running back, McFadden says he’ll be a Cowboys fan either way.
During an appearance on Sirius XM Radio, McFadden was asked whether or not he thinks the Cowboys might retain him.
“I kinda get the feel that they wouldn't mind keeping me,” McFadden said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “I was raised in Arkansas. I live here now. Set up my home here in Texas. I'm a Cowboys fan regardless of whether they decide to bring me back or not.”
McFadden appeared in three regular season games in 2016, racking up 87 yards on 24 carries. He missed much of the season after undergoing surgery to repair the broken elbow he suffered over Memorial Day Weekend when he slipped on wet cement near a swimming pool in a friend’s backyard.
Ezekiel Elliott emerged as one of the top backs in the game during his rookie season, with 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns on 322 carries. Alfred Morris, who backed up Elliott, contributed 243 yards and two touchdowns on 69 carries last season. McFadden would be the third guy on the depth cart for Dallas, but he thinks he can still contribute.
"For me, I still feel fresh," he said. "Like you said I didn't get a lot of wear and tear on my body from the season. I only played in the last three regular season games and the playoff game. I feel like I have a lot that I can offer any team as far as being out there and a guy that can carry the load. I don't feel like I've lost a step at all. I feel like that any team that wants to take a shot at me I don't think it'd be a bad deal for 'em."
McFadden’s ability to contribute was obviously limited last season due to injury, but he had a solid 2015 season, with 1,089 yards and three touchdowns. Trade rumors swirled around McFadden last season, given his injury and the team’s decision to draft Elliott and bring in Morris, but McFadden’s perspective was the same at that time.
“I love it here. I’ve pretty much made this my home, so I love being here,” McFadden said, according to Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram. “I just want to be out there contributing and playing.”
At 29, McFadden should be a cost-effective option for the Cowboys or any team seeking a running back via free agency. If McFadden doesn’t end up in Dallas, however, he’ll apparently still be rooting for his former team.