McFadden has been practicing the past three weeks after spending the first 14 weeks of the season on the non-football injury list because of a broken elbow he suffered in the offseason. McFadden finished fourth in the NFL in rushing last year with 1,089 yards despite not becoming the Cowboys’ lead back until the sixth game.
While McFadden is now on the roster, getting him on the 46-man game-day roster will be the next trick.
With Ezekiel Elliott leading the league in rushing, Lance Dunbar in the third-down back role and Alfred Morris as insurance, bringing a fourth tailback to the game is difficult because of the lack of action. McFadden could serve as a kick returner, although he has just four returns in his career. The Cowboys’ lead returner, Lucky Whitehead, was deactivated last week against the New York Giants after he missed a team meeting.
Jackson, a sixth-round draft pick, was inactive for every game. In the preseason, he had 40 carries for 141 yards and caught five passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.
If he is not claimed by another team, he could be brought back to the practice squad with an eye toward 2017. McFadden and Dunbar are set to be unrestricted free agents and Morris is signed through next season.
While McFadden has earned his $1.25 million base salary while injured, he has missed out on his per-game roster bonuses of $31,250 each week. Now that he is back on the 53-man roster, he will pick up the per-game bonuses.