McFadden didn’t play much last season. He slipped on cement near a swimming pool on Memorial Day weekend and fractured his right elbow, requiring surgery.
McFadden spent most of the season on the non-football injury list.
He returned for the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in December and played in the final three games. In 48 plays, he had 24 carries for 87 yards and caught three passes for 17 yards. He also saw some action on special teams, taking 13 snaps.
McFadden played only one play in his postseason debut, with no statistics.
He has played only two full seasons – in 2014 with Oakland and 2015 with the Cowboys – and ranked fourth in the league in rushing two years ago with 1,089 yards.
The Cowboys like McFadden behind Elliott, and his return means the Cowboys have kept four of their 18 free agents. They also re-signed receiver Brice Butler, receiver Terrance Williams and guard Jonathan Cooper.
The Cowboys have shopped Alfred Morris this offseason, trying to get rid of his $1.2 million base salary this season. They do not consider Morris a good fit in the spot-duty role behind Ezekiel Elliott.
Morris played only 130 offensive snaps and was inactive for three of the last four games, including the postseason loss to the Packers, upon McFadden’s return.
But the Cowboys lost Dunbar, their third-down back, earlier Thursday when he signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Rams. He is among eight free agents to leave Dallas.
The departure of Dunbar and possible departure of Morris could mean even more plays for Elliott, who played 716 plays or 67.5 percent of the offensive snaps last season.