The Dallas Cowboys lost one running back, but re-signed another. Darren McFadden agreed to a one-year deal only hours after Lance Dunbar’s departure.
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 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 the sixth free agent to leave.
Dunbar, 27, has spent his entire career with the Cowboys up to this point. The Haltom High School and North Texas product joined the organization as an undrafted free agent in 2012.
He developed into a change-of-pace and third-down back who had his best season in 2014. He rushed for 99 yards on 29 carries and had 217 receiving yards in 2014.
Dunbar saw his 2015 season cut short when he sustained a severe knee injury in Week 4 at New Orleans. But he re-signed with the Cowboys last offseason and saw action in 13 games, rushing for 31 yards and a touchdown. Dunbar also had 122 receiving yards.
By signing with the Rams, Dunbar reunites with his first NFL running backs coach, Skip Peete, who served in the same role with the Cowboys from 2007-12.
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.
Dunbar is the seventh Cowboy to depart in free agency, joining safeties Barry Church (Jacksonville) and J.J. Wilcox (Tampa Bay); defensive linemen Jack Crawford (Atlanta), Terrell McClain (Washington) and Ryan Davis (Buffalo); and guard Ron Leary (Denver).
Carr joins Ravens
Veteran cornerback Brandon Carr has reached a four-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens, the team announced on Thursday afternoon.
Carr, 30, started all 80 games in his five-year stint with the Cowboys. He contemplated retirement after a decade in the NFL, but is going to continue his career.
Carr never produced like many expected when he signed a five-year, $50 million contract before the 2012 season. He had seven interceptions over his time with the Cowboys, including only one in his final three seasons.
But Carr was dependable to play every Sunday and served as a solid leader in the locker room and community. He was the Cowboys’ NFL Man of the Year nominee in 2015.
In 10 seasons, Carr has never missed a start (144). He has 15 career interceptions.
With Carr departing, the Cowboys secondary continues to take hits. Safeties Barry Church (Jacksonville) and J.J. Wilcox (Tampa Bay) have also signed elsewhere, and fellow cornerback Morris Claiborne is also receiving interest from other teams.
The Cowboys did add cornerback depth earlier this month, though, signing cornerback Nolan Carroll.
Swaim breaks foot
Tight end Geoff Swaim had surgery to repair a broken foot and will be sidelined until training camp.
Swaim had a screw inserted into his foot and will miss the entire off-season program, organized team activities and mini-camp.
It's another setback for Swaim, who missed the final seven games of last season after suffering a torn pectoral tendon.
Swaim, a 2015 seventh-round pick from the University of Texas, was the team's No. 2 tight end behind Jason Witten for the first nine games last season because of his proficiency as a blocker in the Cowboys' two-tight end sets.
He also caught six passes for 69 yards.
Swaim's injury during informal workouts at the The Star this week has made tight end a flashpoint for the Cowboys in the off-season.
Witten is in the final year of his contract. James Hanna missed all of last season with a knee injury, though he should be ready to play.
Rico Gathers, a sixth-round pick who spent last season on the practice squad after a standout basketball career at Baylor, is still a work in progress.
Selecting a tight end to potentially serve as Witten's heir was already a possibility for the Cowboys in the upcoming NFL Draft. The situation might have become even more acute.
Clarence E. Hill Jr. and Drew Davison contributed to this report