Why RB Alfred Morris is ideal fit for Cowboys
(Editor’s note: Grades and analysis for this article may be updated as further details of the deal are reported.)
What it means for Dallas: While Alfred Morris’ rushing grades have dropped every year since his breakout rookie campaign (2012), he is a natural one-cut back, making him an ideal fit in Dallas.
As colleague Nathan Jahnke pointed out this morning, Morris has averaged 2.6 yards after contact per carry thus far in his career, and has notched 11 fumbles.
Factor this in with Dallas’ top-ranked offensive line, and Morris could supplant 2015 Cowboys starting RB Darren McFadden and see production more closely related to his 2012 numbers (4.8 yards per carry, 2.9 yards after contact per carry).
The final element to the signing, from Dallas’ perspective, is the deal itself. Long-rumored to be in the running for Lamar Miller, the former Dolphins RB instead signed a four-year deal with Houston for $26 million ($14 million guaranteed). Morris’ price tag is likely much more reasonable (although official numbers have not been released), and while he isn’t on the same talent tier as Miller, he can still be a productive player for the Cowboys.
What it means for Washington: Morris became part of a time-share with rookie Matt Jones in 2015 (Morris recorded 213 carries, the fewest of his career), despite Jones’ struggles with consistency (averaged greater than 3.5 yards per carry just once after Week 2). While letting Morris leave via free agency wasn’t a surprise, he does leave Washington with a key hole to fill.
Arkansas RB Alex Collins is a big-bodied, one-cut runner (similar to Morris), and would be an excellent fit for Washington if available in the third or fourth round of the draft. He would challenge Jones for carries early, and would likely surpass the second-year pro on third-down snaps because of his blocking ability.
Finding a back that can contribute as both a blocker and receiver on passing downs needs to be a priority for Washington, as neither Jones nor Morris provided consistent third-down production in 2015.