As expected, the Cowboys are not planning on preemptively re-signing starting RB DeMarco Murray anytime soon. The 2013 Pro Bowler will play for his new contract in 2014 and has plenty to lose and plenty to win as a result.
“I think we’ll see how this year goes and we’ll go from there,” said Stephen Jones (as reported first by dallascowboys.com).
Few question DeMarco Murray’s ability. The former Sooner finished 10th in the league last season in rushing yards. Of the top 10 Murray boasted the highest yards per carry. Murray has soft hands as a receiver and reliable execution in pass-protection. When Murray is on the field good things happen.
When Murray is on the field…
DeMarco has a checkered injury history that is obviously being taken into heavy consideration. He’s missed games in each of his three NFL seasons: 2 games in 2013, 6 games in 2012, and 3 games in 2011.
That’s a bit more fragile than you’d like to see from your lead back. While most top RBs in the NFL miss games, Murray seems to miss more than most.
On top of his injury history is the fact that the NFL is no longer valuing RBs individually. They are of course vital positions, but recently they’ve been highly replaceable. Unless a team has one of the top 5 RBs in the NFL, cheaper alternatives can be found.
“Running backs have kind of evolved in this league”, said Stephen Jones. “It’s tough for running backs to have a lot of longevity, but there are ones that do.”
The Cowboys are clearly placing a priority on re-signing Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith and know how irreplaceable those two cornerstones are. Still, Murray seems custom-made for this running game and it doesn’t appear a suitable replacement is waiting in the wings (although Randle could surprise).
It appears the Cowboys are going to run the hell out of DeMarco Murray in 2014 and see what comes up. They haven’t closed the door on re-signing him but they’ve also given clear indications they are willing to let him go if they must.
How injury-prone is Murray?
Earlier this offseason we looked at DeMarco’s injury history and how he compares to the other top 10 NFL rushers from last year. It turns out most of those top rushers also have a comparable injury history.
For a breakdown of the Top 10 RBs and their injury history, follow onto the next page for a review of that article…