Darren McFadden spent seven seasons with the Raiders. Most were filled with hope, that he could and would be one of the NFL’s best rushers. That was rarely the case. Injuries ensured that fact.
The No. 4 overall pick in 2008 wasn’t often his best self, hampered by leg injuries throughout his time in Oakland. Those issues were magnified through the lens of a massive six-year deal worth $60 million. McFadden couldn’t live up to that draft pick, couldn’t live up to that contract, and couldn’t live up to Raider Nation’s lofty expectations.
He’s a Dallas Cowboy now. The veteran agreed to terms Friday morning on a two-year contract to play for the NFL team he grew up rooting for, a source close to the situation confirmed to CSNCalifornia.com. McFadden and owner/GM Jerry Jones are proud Arkansas Razorbacks, making Dallas a good a spot as any for McFadden to fit in.
McFadden was well liked by his teammates, but often drew ire from the fan base over suspect production and availability -- except during a brief window from 2010-11, when he averaged 5.27 yards per carry. He still missed 12 games in that span but, when McFadden was on, he was really, really good.
Those periods didn’t last long enough, and he went quiet in recent seasons. He averaged 3.3 yards per carry after the 2011 season, including a 2014 campaign where he was finally healthy for all 16 games.
With his rookie contract expired, McFadden's presence last season was unexpected. Despite having better options, he returned on a contract with just $100,000 guaranteed, hoping to impress the fan base and the organization. He wanted to give it one more shot.
It didn’t work out as planned.
McFadden moves on to Dallas where he can be a change of pace behind a dominant offensive line. McFadden can still be a home-run hitter with the right blocking and, if he can show that explosiveness early on, he should find a role in Dallas that suits him at this stage of his career.