NFL rumors have been swirling around Lance Dunbar this week. He was making his rounds through the National Football League in free agency. One of the teams that he visited was the San Francisco 49ers, a team badly in need of depth at the running back position. A contract between the two sides made a lot of sense. However, Dunbar had something else in mind. According to NFL.com, he is returning to the Dallas Cowboys instead.
For years, the San Francisco 49ers didn’t have to worry about their running back position. Since 2011, Frank Gore played in every single game of the regular season. He also played pretty well in those games. Gore racked up more than 1,000 yards per season during that stretch. Free agency led Frank to the Indianapolis Colts, where he started every single game and came pretty close to 1,000 yards.
For various reasons, the San Francisco 49ers had to rely on several running backs last season. Carlos Hyde was supposed to be the featured back, but he was only healthy enough for 115 carries. The Niners also handed the ball off to Shaun Draughn, Mike Davis, DuJuan Harris, Jarryd Hayne and Kendall Gaskins. While some of them showed some promise, none of them eased the minds of management, coaches and fans.
The reason why the San Francisco 49ers are looking at running backs is because they are concerned that Carlos Hyde may be injury prone. That’s why it is a bit ironic that they checked into Lance Dunbar, who lost his season last year because of a torn ACL. That says a lot about the potential of Dunbar. It also means that the Niners are going to do their due diligence to establish a running game again because Colin Kaepernick or Blaine Gabbert need it to help the passing game.
If both of them are healthy, then Lance Dunbar and Carlos Hyde would be an excellent running back tandem. Their skills complement one another very well. Hyde would be the bulldozer, running between the offensive tackles. He would get all of the hard yards and tire out defenses. Dunbar would be the change-of-pace running back. San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly would have utilized him on the outside sweeps and in the passing game.
During the first couple of weeks last season, Lance Dunbar provided the Dallas Cowboys with a very good receiving threat out of the backfield. He was mentioned as being one of the best in the NFL in that aspect. There were comparisons to New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis and San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead. Had Dunbar been healthy, then he and Darren McFadden would have provided the Cowboys with a good ground game.
Lance Dunbar is signing a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys. That makes sense because of the torn ACL. The Cowboys don’t want to be tied down to a running back that cannot get on the field. On the flip side, Dunbar is signing a one-year deal in the hope of proving to Dallas that he is healthy again. If he can do that, then there’s a very good chance that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will shell out more than $1.75 million next summer.
After checking other options in the NFL and see what his value was on the free agent market, Lance Dunbar decided to stay home with the Dallas Cowboys. By bringing him back, the Cowboys might not as much of a sense of urgency in finding a running back in the upcoming NFL Draft. There are a lot of other priorities for the team.
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