If there’s been one consistency on the Dallas Cowboys offense over the past few seasons it’s been the inconsistency of the running game. With the decline of Marion Barber, Felix Jones and, too a lesser degree, Tashard Choice were given a chance to be the team’s key running backs — but in all honesty, neither had the talent to do so.
There’s no doubt that Demarco Murray has the talent to become the team’s feature back, but he just cannot stay healthy. It’s Scouting 101 that teams should always handcuff injury-prone running backs with a back that can step in and produce at a similar level when needed to do so.
That back has just become available and should immediately be pursued by Jerry Jones:
After a 1,047 yard and ten touchdown campaign for the Arizona Cardinals in 2011, Wells struggled mightily to get on track in limited action in 2012, carrying the ball only 88 times and picking up 234 yards in eight games, hampered by injuries and the emergence of LaRod Stephens-Howling.
With this, the Cardinals chose to release Wells today rather than have their hand forced into re-signing him prior to the league’s free agency deadline of March 12th at 4:00 pm Eastern for teams to exercise 2013 options on players who were under contract in 2012.
In acquiring Wells, the Cowboys would have a proven option to take up slack for Murray in the eventuality he again gets injured — and as we’ve seen so far in his short professional career, this is highly likely. Wells himself is rarely 100% healthy, but he has still proven to be productive even when not 100%.
His primary ailment in 2012 was a turf toe injury, common among NFL running backs who play weekly on turf. This would be the case in Dallas for Wells as it was in Arizona, but the Cowboys won’t be asking for him to be an every down back at any point, unless Murray is out for a significant period of time and they are left with no other option.
Beanie Wells isn’t a first-tier NFL running back — that title is reserved for the Adrian Petersons and Arian Fosters of the world. What he is, however, is a guy that could be a very valuable handcuff for Jason Garrett to have the next time Demarco Murray crumbles.
You can just about bet that time will come in 2013 and the Cowboys might as well be proactive rather than reactive.