The Dallas Cowboys have the top-ranked rushing offense and the top-ranked rusher in the NFL.
That doesn’t seem to leave much room for the Cowboys’ best rusher last season, Darren McFadden, to get meaningful snaps whenever he is deemed ready to go.
At this point, maybe it’d be best for both sides to find a trade partner by the Nov. 1 trade deadline?
“No, I can’t say that,” McFadden said. “I love it here. I’ve pretty much made this my home, so I love being here. I just want to be out there contributing and playing.”
McFadden, 29, has yet to return to practice after undergoing surgery on his right elbow this off-season, and said Monday that it “could be a few more weeks” before he does.
At the time of his injury, McFadden and the Cowboys hoped he could be ready to go by the season opener. He felt he could, but the team opted to put him on the non-football injury list to start the season.
That designation meant McFadden would have to miss at least the first six weeks while not receiving his full salary. Teams are not obligated to pay players who injure themselves away from the field such as McFadden did.
Now, though, McFadden feels he is ready to return.
The Cowboys could have activated him off the NFI list last week for the first time, but didn’t with their bye week. They must make that decision this week or next, and then they’ll have three weeks from that point as to whether they want to add him to the 53-man roster.
“It’s just the way it played out right now,” said McFadden, who ranked fourth in the NFL last season with 1,089 rushing yards. “We’ve got good backs, they’ve been doing a hell of a job running the ball. Right now, it’s just a waiting game for me.”
The Cowboys have the best rushing offense in the league, averaging 161.2 yards a game. Rookie Ezekiel Elliott has been the star of the ground game, leading the league with 703 rushing yards.
Elliott has carried the ball 137 of the Cowboys’ 202 attempts, about 68 percent of the time. Backup Alfred Morris has gotten 16 percent of the carries and quarterback Dak Prescott ranks third with just under 10 percent of the carries.
With such a crowded backfield, the trade possibility for McFadden hangs in the balance.
“It’s something I don’t really pay attention to,” McFadden said. “Right now, whatever happens man, I’m going to be ready regardless. Whether they decide to bring me up and play me here, or if I get traded or whatever, I’m going to be ready to play.”