American Football

Cowboys free agency: Dallas bringing back running back Rico Dowdle

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Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

After two years lost to injuries, Rico Dowdle gets his best opportunity yet to compete in Dallas.

Rico Dowdle was starting to look like a tragic figure in recent Cowboys history. The running back’s contract was up after two injury-plagued seasons, but Dallas is still hoping he can contribute in 2023. Dowdle just re-signed with the team as the running back position remains a priority after Ezekiel Elliott’s departure.

Dowdle was an undrafted free agent in 2020 who immediately found work as the third-string RB behind Elliott and Tony Pollard. While only getting seven carries as a rookie, Dowdle became a standout on special teams both for kick return ability and on the coverage units.

Dowdle was a lock to retain those roles in 2021 but was lost to a preseason hip injury. He came back and beat out Malik Davis for the official roster in 2022 but was placed on IR again after Week 5 due to an ankle injury.

Despite Dowdle having only three accrued seasons in the NFL and being eligible for a restricted free agent tender, the Cowboys declined to place one on him. Even the minimal RFA tender cost $2.6 million this year and that was certainly more than Dallas wanted to give Dowdle given the last two years.

We don’t have details yet but Dowdle’s new deal is likely a minimal one-year contract to give him a last shot at competing. He’ll once again square off with Malik Davis for backup work, plus whoever else the Cowboys add via free agency or the draft.

If he can finally stay healthy again, Dowdle has proven his value as a special teamer and flashed offensive potential. He is a legitimate contender in the Cowboys’ RB depth chart battle at this year’s training camp.

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