The question of the offseason is ‘what’s going to happen to DeMarco Murray?’ Valid speculation exists on both sides of this issue. Some feel it’s only a matter of time before the Cowboys pony up the cash to keep their offensive MVP. Others saw the writing on the wall last offseason and see the Cowboys merely going through the motions of re-signing DeMarco Murray.
The reality is the Dallas Cowboys are playing this one a little close to the vest. We don’t know what their true intentions are, but this much is true – the Cowboys can sign him if they want to. In other words, the money is available.
Just a few days ago, the Cowboys declined to pick up the team option of Henry Melton. The predictable roster move freed up over $8M in salary cap space that the Cowboys will need to secure their top free agents –top free agent like DeMarco Murray. Other moves are on the horizon too. Brandon Carr will likely be cut; Doug Free will either stay for less money or be sent packing also. Tony Romo’s contract can be restructured as can Sean Lee’s.
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The point is, the money is there to sign both Dez Bryant (Which will happen for sure), AND DeMarco Murray. When Jerry Jones said this, “If you look at it from the standpoint of dollars and cents, it probably doesn’t look reasonable”, he was posturing. Jerry knows how to negotiate as well as anyone in the NFL. Dez Bryant is about to be locked up for a ridiculous amount of money (pretty unavoidable) and Jerry is trying to lower expectations in the DeMarco Murray Camp.
Even with Jerry’s diminished role in recent years (giving way to son Stephen), Jerry is still intimately involved on all personnel issues, especially superstars. The Cowboys like to wait until the last minute to ramp up negotiations. They are notorious for it and frankly, pretty successful as well.
Again, this all assumes they are interested in re-signing Murray in the first place 4yrs /$16M? That’s not going to do it. We know it, they know, and DeMarco Murray sure as hell knows it. It’s part of the process though, and unlikely to be the final offer.
The franchise tag isn’t really an option. If the Cowboys are looking to retain DeMarco Murray, it will be at a number-per-year- far lower than that of the franchise tag. It’s always a possibility, but would severely impact the Cowboys’ ability to upgrade on defense. In fact, it would likely ensure the Cowboys loss of Bruce Carter and Rolando McClain.
Various insiders are saying the right things, but we don’t know if they’re really ready to put their money where their mouth is. Jason Garrett says he wants Murray but would he still want him if it cost him the ability to sign free agents on defense AND lose Brandon Carr, Rolando McClain, and Bruce Carter? The Cowboys are following their script, and history tells us they will be pushing this thing up until the deadline.
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