A worst-case scenario for Cowboys at running back

IRVING, Texas -- Part 2 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we discuss:

  • What if the runners don't pan out?

  • Dez Bryant's contract

  • Biggest impact on defense

  • Life without Tyron Smith

  • Extra-point concerns

If you want to see Part 1, click here.

Away we go:

@toddarcher: Pass the ball? I kid, I kid. But this is why you've heard Stephen Jones reference the New England Patriots' addition of LeGarrette Blount this offseason. The Patriots added him in December and he helped them win a Super Bowl. I don't want to say you can find a running back anywhere because I believe the running back matters. But I think there will be chances to find runners as the year goes on. I would bet the Cowboys will be studying the position hard in the preseason when they send scouts to games for possible trades, waiver claims or signings if they aren't liking what they see from the backs currently on the roster. I've said this before, but even if DeMarco Murray returned, I don't think this team would run for 2,300 yards in 2015.

@toddarcher: No. I understand why you might think Greg Hardy's roster bonuses could play a part but they don't. Even though Bryant hasn't signed his $12.823 million tender, it is already counted against the salary cap. The Cowboys don't need any cap space to sign Bryant. In fact, they would likely gain cap space if they get Bryant signed for the long term. It's not a cash or cap issue. It has always been a structure of the deal issue that needs to be worked through.

@toddarcher: I don't see the Hardy suspension being reduced that much. Maybe it goes down to six or eight games. But I would still say the return of Sean Lee. I understand the importance of affecting the quarterback with a pass rush and how Hardy should help. But I think Lee lifts all boats, so to speak. He makes the entire defense better and can fill every defensive category. Yes, I realize I might be a little naïve in thinking Lee will be around for a full year given his injury. Maybe I just think he's due. Not the most sound strategy, I realize, but it's what I'm going with.

@toddarcher: I'm not a fan of making two moves for one spot, so I wouldn't move Zack Martin out of his right guard spot. He's too good on the interior. If the Cowboys were to lose Smith, then I think they could move La'el Collins over there or use third-rounder Chaz Green. Most teams didn't project Collins as a left tackle, but it's where he played at LSU. Green has been used at both tackle spots so far and when he was projected to be the swing tackle after he was picked. Maybe Doug Free would be an option but that would go back to my two moves for one argument.

@toddarcher: I asked coach Jason Garrett about it recently and he didn't sound like he would do much differently, but you raise a good point about the weather. Not all 33-yard field goal attempts are created equally, especially if you're kicking at Green Bay and Buffalo, like Dan Bailey will be this season. Garrett likes to play it safe most of the time, so unless he really has to go for two, I don't think he will. Maybe the snow and winds late in the year will change his mind. It's definitely not a give up play anymore.