The Cowboys took care of some mundane business this morning, but still saw their name pop up in some un-mundane business. First, the sensible news. Running back Lance Dunbar and punter Chris Jones signed their one-year restricted free agent tenders, according to the mothership. Both players were offered $1.54 million for this year as undrafted players.
Jones is the incumbent for the punter's position but will likely face competition in training camp, a yearly ritual for punters. Jones finished last season 14th among punters in net average.
The 2015 offseason will be an important one for Dunbar. The coaching staff loves his potential as an open-field runner and pass receiver out of the backfield, but that potential has never truly been realized. Injuries have been a problem, and last year DeMarco Murray ate up almost all the snaps by running backs, leaving Dunbar on the sidelines. Now, the Cowboys are having an open competition at running back with Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle, Ryan Williams, and likely a draft pick all in the mix with Dunbar. He needs to show something special this offseason to stick around.
Plus, the running back position may get more crowded if you believe (personally I don't believe) the zombie rumor that is still going around. The latest from a Minnesota newspaper:
The source said if the Vikings want to trade Peterson, they never will have more leverage than during the April 30-May 2 draft. The source said Minnesota could be able to entice a team once Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley, the two top backs in the draft, are off the board.
The source named six teams in the mix for Peterson: Arizona, Atlanta, Dallas, Jacksonville, San Diego and Tampa Bay. The source did not include Oakland, mentioned in media reports as a possible candidate, in the group.
"If they got a second-round pick and a player, they'd be doing well," the source said.
Since this won't go away, here's my take. Not going to happen. Peterson is a tremendous talent and any team would be lucky to have him under certain conditions. In a vacuum, if someone asked if you wanted Adrian Peterson on your team, most people would say sure. But if I had to spend a high draft pick, plus another player, plus pay him $12.3 million this season and face the reality that he is 30 years old, then I would have to politely decline. That is too much. I'd rather take my chances on a running back-by-committee that includes a young stud from the draft. Certainly Peterson would be a great addition, but the cost/risk equation is too steep.