Royce Freeman adds veteran experience

Editor’s Note: As part of the preparation for training camp, this series will introduce 25 players who are new to the Cowboys’ roster, rookies and veterans alike. We continue with Royce Freeman.)

How He Got Here: After a quiet free agency period that saw very little activity from a cap-bound Cowboys’ front office, the decision makers at The Star were able to come to an agreement on a one-year deal worth $1.3 million with veteran running back Royce Freeman – the team’s second of two outside veteran free agent signings in 2024. After being drafted in the third round by the Denver Broncos in 2018, Freeman took the starting reins in the Denver backfield for two seasons where he produced 1,017 yards and 8 touchdowns on 262 carries (3.88 yards per carry) while also totaling 57 receptions for 328 yards and 1 touchdown in the receiving game. However, those early years in Denver have accounted for the bulk of his NFL production to this point. His 2023 campaign saw him have his best season since those early years, though, as he rushed for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Los Angeles Rams.

What’s Next: Freeman will insert himself in a crowded running back room that is open for any player to make a big impression in Oxnard and in the preseason. Ezekiel Elliott has the edge in veteran experience, career production and 2023 production by a longshot over Freeman, but his presence could help elevate the competition behind the three-time Pro Bowler with guys like Rico Dowdle, Deuce Vaughn, Hunter Luepke, Malik Davis, Snoop Conner and Nathaniel Peat. The ace up Freeman’s sleeve could be his ability to pass protect which could make him a valuable practice squad player at the very least in 2024.

Did You Know: Freeman is the career rushing touchdowns leader in the PAC-12 Conference where he rushed for 60 scores at the University of Oregon from 2014 to 2017. With the PAC-12 looking seemingly dormant for the foreseeable future, that record looks to be cemented. He is also the Ducks’ career rushing leader at 5,621 yards.

Quotable: “When you have the opportunity to play in a number of different systems, I’m very impressed with how quickly he picked up the language. Football comes pretty easy to him. It’s natural. You can see that protection. He has been an excellent addition.” – Mike McCarthy on the addition of Royce Freeman

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