The Dallas Cowboys’ running game has been in question ever since the team let stat running back DeMarco Murray walk in free agency this offseason. The hit was felt even more when Murray, last year’s league-leading rusher, went to the division rival Philadelphia Eagles. While Dallas still doesn’t have a clear-cut replacement for Murray, they at least moved one step closer to figuring their offensive backfield out on Sunday afternoon, when they completed a trade to land Seattle Seahawks running back, Christine Michael.

Christine Michael burst onto the scene a stud prospect out of Texas A&M just three years ago, and looked to be a major steal for a Seahawks team that had one of the best runners in the league in Marshawn Lynch. It was a luxury pick that was never put into action, while the Seahawks played it safe this year by bringing in proven veteran Fred Jackson. That move rendered Michael expendable, and the Cowboys were one of a handful of teams that were both interested and could use a running back upgrade.

Whether or not Christine Michael actually serves as an “upgrade” remains to be seen, but there’s little doubt his raw physical ability is a welcome addition to a running back corps that previously boasted an unproven Joseph Randle and an injury-prone Darren McFadden. Randle opened some eyes after averaging 6.7 yards per carry in his second NFL season last year, but is still largely unproven and isn’t an overly imposing rusher from an athletic perspective. McFadden still is, but has also gone just one year in his entire career playing a full 16-game season.

It’s possible Christine Michael is the perfect blend of both running backs. If he isn’t, a 7th round draft pick is worth the risk to see if he can be the answer. For now, Michael isn’t the answer. It’s possible no one in Dallas is, or collectively they all are. Dallas has stood by their desire to feature numerous backs in a full blown running back by committee approach, and with a nasty offensive line as great as theirs, precisely how they go about running the ball with their rotations simply may not matter.

What we do know is that a run-based Cowboys offense was very successful a year ago, getting Dallas 12 wins, taking pressure off of a still very effective (if not elite) Tony Romo, and winning the NFC East. That happened with a very good running back touching the ball over 400 times. Now the Cowboys may plan to just split those touches up between three running backs (and also Lance Dunbar). The logic is all three would remain fresh, would stay highly effective and healthy.

Of course, the biggest question is which of them will actually be effective, if any. And if one is head and shoulders above the others, will Dallas ditch their committee plan and ride one main rusher, just like they did in 2014? If the Cowboys want to go further than they did a year ago, that may have to happen. No one knows if that will be the case, but being proactive and bringing in one more talented runner certainly doesn’t hurt their chances.

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