Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
The Dallas Cowboys had a memorable season. Going 12-4 during the regular season, winning the NFC East title, and beating the Detroit Lions to advance to the second round of the playoffs. Tony Romo led the league in quarterback rating (113.2), became the Cowboys all time leading passer, Dez Bryant led the league in receiving touchdowns, and DeMarco Murray led the league and rushing and tied for the most rushing touchdowns.
We know Romo and Bryant will be back. Regardless of Bryant’s contract demands. But Murray is the one who might not be coming back. From the looks of it, the Cowboys aren’t doing enough to bring back their franchise single season leading rusher.
The Cowboys offered Murray a four year 16 million dollar contract. Yes, that is what the Cowboys offered the NFL’s leading rusher.
To me, that’s a travesty. An insult. A lack of appreciation for what Murray accomplished this season. A slap in the face.
Wow, they could have offered him at least 20 million.
Talk about being disrespectful.
The Cowboys don’t believe they can afford to bring Murray back next year while trying to resign Bryant to a long term contract. It’s reported that Murray is looking for 7-10 million. And the Cowboys aren’t going to spend that money on a running back, a position that is now devalued.
But Murray isn’t any running back. Murray is a powerful running back. A throw back from back in the day when running backs delivered the first blow. Think of Earl Campbell, Walter Payton, Jim Brown, and any other bruiser who would run you over. Murray is cut from that mode.
I have yet to see any defensive player put Murray on his butt.
That’s because Murray always delivers the first blow.
But Murray only averaged 4.7 yards a carry, rushed for 1,845 yards, scored 13 touchdowns, caught 57 receptions for 416 yards at 7.3 yards a reception. Oh, and one more thing, he rushed for 100 yards in eight straight games to start the season. Breaking the previous record of six and now setting a new record. Something that has never been done before.
Consider all of the great running backs that are in the HOF (Hall Of Fame) and never achieved that feat, hell the all time leading rusher, Emmitt Smith, never did it.
Murray is in elite company.
But here is where Murray’s value really comes in. When opposing defenses stack the box to stop him, Bryant gets one on one coverage. And Bryant destroys one on one coverage, recording 16 receiving touchdowns this season because of the defenses paying so much attention to Murray. It also opens up opportunities for Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, and Jason Witten. Pick a game, a possession, or a drive and all of the receivers benefited from Murray’s presence.
Prime example is the second game against Eagles. Bryant scored three touchdowns because of the Eagles stacking the box. Or when Beasely scored two touchdowns against the Chicago Bears. Or when Williams scored two touchdowns against the Lions.
With Murray in the backfield, opposing defenses have to pick their poison. Stack the box and Bryant and Co. will eat you alive. Double cover Bryant and play dime coverage, and Murray will run for 1,000 yards in one game. Especially behind that massive offensive line.
So Dallas Cowboys are you willing to let Murray go after all he brings to the table?
I hope not.
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Yeah, I’m very aware of the fumbles. But if you do your research, you will see some of the greatest running backs had more fumbles than Murray in one season. Tony Dorsett lost 12 fumbles in two seperate seasons. He had 10 in another. And Emmitt Smith had eight in one season. According to my math, they had more fumbles in one season than Murray. And they are Hall of Famers!
Yes, I’m very aware of Murray’s injury plagued career. But I’m also very aware of how he produced in a 16 game season when healthy. I’m also aware of how he played with a broken hand in the latter part of the season. I’m very aware of how he could’ve rushed for 100 yards in some games if the Cowboys hadn’t stopped giving him the ball.
I don’t want to hear about a running back by committee or giving the ball to Joseph Randle 30 times a game because he isn’t Murray. And I like Randle. But he doesn’t command the respect Murray does. That’s a fact. Not an opinion.
I didn’t forget about Adrian Peterson, either. But he ain’t coming cheap, either. If you can guarantee me the Cowboys can land Peterson, then you can let Murray walk. But even then, I would do everything in my power to keep Murray because he’s younger and he’s good.
If the Cowboys are going to pay Peterson a lot of money, then they might as well pay Murray. Just that simple.
I’m not saying the Cowboys should over pay Murray. No way. I’m saying find a way to pay him because he’s worth it. He’s valuable. He brings a lot to the table and everyone is eating because of it.
If I’m aware of it, so are the other 31 teams in the NFL.
I just hope Jerry Jones and his Dallas Cowboys are aware of it.