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Free Agents 2008: Running Backs

Here is a short list of running backs expected to become free agents in 2008:

Michael Turner (Age 25) - San Diego; 316 yards, 4.5 ave., 1 TD (16 games, 0 starts)
Chris Brown (Age 26) - Tennessee; 462 yards, 4.5 ave., 5 TD (12 games, 1 start)
Derrick Ward (Age 27) - NY Giants; 603 yards, 4.8 ave., 3 TD (8 games, 5 starts)
Michael Pittman (Age 32) - Tampa Bay; 286 yards, 4.2 ave., 0 TD (10 games, 3 starts)
Ron Dayne (Age 29) - Houston; 773 yards, 4.0 ave., 6 TD (13 games, 8 starts)
T.J. Duckett (Age 26) - Detroit; 335 yards, 5.2 ave., 3 TD (12 games, 1 start)
Musa Smith (Age 25) - Baltimore; 264 yards, 3.5 ave., 2 TD (16 games, 1 start)
Mewelde Moore (Age 25) - Minnesota; 113 yards, 5.6 ave., 0 TD (12 games, 0 starts)
Julius Jones (Age 26) - Dallas; 588 yards, 3.6 ave., 2 TD (16 games, 16 starts)

Dan Kreider (Age 30) - Pittsburgh; 5-11, 255
Tony Richardson (Age 36) - Minnesota; 6-1, 238
Cecil Sapp (Age 29) - Denver; 5-11, 229
Thomas Tapeh (Age 27) - Philadelphia; 6-1, 243
Brad Hoover (Age 31) - Carolina; 6-0, 245

Julius Jones is gone. It's been well documented that he is on his way out and it's just a matter of waiting until free agency starts for it to become official. The Cowboys have yet to reach a contract agreement with Marion Barber but they will tender him at the highest level possible in order to keep him around at least for this year. But someone is needed to give Barber a break and provide the true change of pace home run hitter that Julius Jones never quite panned out to be. Many believe that the Cowboys are looking towards the draft for this second back, especially with a smörgåsbord of running backs entering the draft this year that has Cowboys fans drooling from the mouths. Of course, Jerry Jones has made the impression that the route the Cowboys will take is not the most obvious one:

Without Julius Jones signed, it's obvious we need to look at running back. How we get there might surprise you. It can be, but it's not necessarily, drafting one.

Of course, this is Jerry speak, where anything that comes out of his mouth has an infinite amount of meaning. Yet Jerry alludes to the scenario of the Cowboys looking to free agency to pick up a complimentary running back but it seems the pickings are slim. Michael Turner is the top running back in free agency this year but he has made it clear that he is looking for a starting role as a feature back, a job he will not find in Dallas. Derrick Ward is also intriguing as the Cowboys have seen first hand his ability to break a play into the open field. None of the players listed above, however, have as much upside a number of the running backs in the draft this year do and the Cowboys would be smarter in the long run if they choose to look there for a second back next to Marion Barber.

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