The Cowboys didn’t wait long to find a new running back option. A day after DeMarco Murray left for Philadelphia, Dallas signed Darren McFadden to a two-year, incentive laden deal worth a possible $5.85 million with a $200,000 signing bonus.
McFadden, 27, arrived at Valley Ranch on Friday and passed a physical.
Murray signed a five-year, $42 million contract, with $21 million guaranteed from the Eagles. McFadden, who has been working out in McKinney at the Michael Johnson Performance Center, arrives as a low-cost, low-risk replacement with base salaries of $900,000 in 2015 and $1.25 million in 2016.
The Oakland Raiders selected McFadden with the No. 4 overall choice in 2008, 18 picks before the Cowboys took McFadden’s Arkansas backfield mate, Felix Jones.
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McFadden, though, has had an injury-plagued career, missing 29 games in his seven seasons. He has dealt with toe, knee, hamstring, shoulder, groin, foot and ankle injuries, and has been held to 3.3 yards a carry the past three seasons.
In 2014, he played a full 16-game season for the first time in his career. He gained 534 yards on 155 carries.
McFadden has 1,038 career carries for 4,247 yards, a 4.1 per carry average, and 25 touchdowns. He has caught 211 passes for 1,769 yards and five touchdowns. And he has lost 12 of 17 fumbles
The Cowboys remain likely to draft a running back, with holdovers Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar, Ryan Williams and newcomer McFadden fighting for roster spots and eventually playing time.
Murray had 497 touches for the Cowboys last season, including 449 in the regular season. McFadden has never had more than 270 touches in a season. Dunbar, Randle and Williams have combined for 293 touches in their careers.
So the Cowboys appear headed toward a running back by committee.
They signed another fullback Friday, getting Ray Agnew for a two-year deal. He’ll compete with Jed Collins, who signed a day earlier. Agnew played in 12 games last season, his only NFL season, for the Browns.
The Cowboys took a step toward filling their needs at linebacker by coming to terms with Minnesota’s Jasper Brinkley on a two-year deal late Thursday night, per a source.
Brinkley needs to pass a physical for the deal to be official. The move would shore up a linebacker corps that has lost Justin Durant (Atlanta) and Bruce Carter (Tampa Bay) in free agency and is still uncertain regarding the return of middle linebacker Rolando McClain.
Brinkley can play middle linebacker and would be insurance in case McClain doesn’t return, while continuing the plan to allow Sean Lee to move to weakside linebacker.
Leary, Wilcox rewarded
Cowboys guard Ronald Leary and safety J.J. Wilcox were among the top-paid players in the NFL’s “Performance-Based Pay” program, the league announced Friday.
Leary will earn an additional $286,813 for his play in 2014, the 11th most among eligible NFL players. Wilcox will get $245,173, the 22nd most in the league. Leary had a base salary of $495,000 last season, and Wilcox made $505,000.
The Cowboys had 10 additional players who received more than $100,000 — LB Anthony Hitchens, WR Terrance Williams, CB Sterling Moore, DT Tyrone Crawford, LB Rolando McClain, TE James Hanna, DT Nick Hayden, LB Kyle Wilber, S Jeff Heath and WR Cole Beasley.
Staff writers Clarence Hill and Drew Davison contributed to this report.
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760