Dallas Cowboys – The Benefits of Losing DeMarco Murray


For the Dallas Cowboys, losing DeMarco Murray is tough. There’s no question about that. Throw the Philadelphia Eagles into the mix and it’s downright painful. But there is good news for the Dallas Cowboys… Resisting the urge to (over-)pay for DeMarco Murray, leaves the Dallas Cowboys in a much better situation than if they broke the bank to retain him. Let’s take a look…

DeMarco Murray signed with the Eagles for 5yrs/$42M with $21M guaranteed. This translates to over $8M per season and a minimum 3 year commitment (to avoid dead money cap penalties for early contract termination). This is no chump change and immediately propels DeMarco Murray into the money range of Adrian Peterson and LeSean McCoy. Does DeMarco belong in that lofty group of talent? Of course, but that doesn’t mean it’s a smart move to make.

Dallas Cowboys’ Benefits: Different Eggs in Different Baskets

When you pay huge money to one player, you rarely can afford suitable depth. Re-signing Murray dictates the Cowboys put all their eggs in the DeMarco Murray basket. That’s extremely risky considering the workload Murray had last season and what history suggests will happen this year

By letting him go, the Dallas Cowboys avoided the risk of relying on a RB returning from a historically heavy workload. They may now have questions at the position, but they can afford to plug in multiple solutions to solve those questions. If one guy goes down – no problem, they have more options.

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As discussed yesterday, the Dallas Cowboys recently signed Darren McFadden from


errrr Oakland. McFadden was a signing the Cowboys wanted to make regardless of what happened with DeMarco. He is a cheap low risk/high reward piece that will allow the Cowboys to go into the NFL Draft without a desperate need to get a RB with their top pick.

The Cowboys are likely done addressing RB in free agency and will now head into the draft looking for a RB that could compete with McFadden, Joseph Randle, and Ryan Williams for the lead dog spot. Let’s face facts, NO ONE is going to equal the output that DeMarco Murray produced last season. Hell, DeMarco himself is a longshot to ever repeat that kinda performance.

"If history is any indicator, DeMarco is a longshot to collect 1000 yards after the workload he had last season."

The Cowboys now have options at RB and have diversified their risk, but most importantly…they have money

Dallas Cowboys’ Benefits: Better Defense

Sans DeMarco, the Cowboys have about $5M dollars to allocate elsewhere (DeMarco’s 2015 salary – Dallas Cowboys 2015 RB corps = roughly $5M). Restructuring big contracts like Tony Romo’s still remains a possible solution to freeing even more salary cap space, but Stephen Jones wants to avoid that near-sighted behavior as much as possible.

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Like we’ve discussed all offseason, the NFL is a zero sum game. If you add money in one place you have to take it from somewhere else. The Cowboys are already financially loaded on offense and if anything, they need to shift resources to the defense.

The draft will carry the brunt of the burden, as the Dallas Cowboys are expected to cluster bomb the defensive positions with the majority (if not all) of their draft picks. But they can’t do it all with inexpensive draft picks, they need money for value free agent fixes as well. This type of fiscal responsibility has been a staple of Stephen Jones’ Dallas Cowboys and played a big part in setting the budget for DeMarco Murray.

Dallas Cowboys’ Benefits: Retaining Dez

The argument that any RB can run behind a great offensive line is overstated but not without merit. The Dallas Cowboys don’t believe just anyone can come in and do what DeMarco Murray did last year, but they clearly think they can find a suitable replacement. What the Cowboys are sticking to here is their winning formula. The winning formula?

"1 Great O-line + One feared WR + one respected QB = RB Opportunities"

The writing was on the wall when the Cowboys re-signed Doug Free. You can’t re-sign everyone and the Cowboys made their choice by sending $5M per year to their RT. Keep in mind, that $5M combined with the collective salaries of the current stable of RBs could have matched the Eagles’ per year offer, but the Cowboys decided this instead.

Dez Bryant is the final piece of the winning formula that has yet to be locked down long-term. A threat like Dez is required to make this run game work. Teams cannot afford to single-cover Dez and must keep a safety back or face the consequences. This has a huge impact on the running game and it does not go unnoticed by anyone in the Cowboys’ front office.

Without the ramifications of a large long-term contract going to Murray, the Dallas Cowboys can more easily invest big into their harder-to-replace receiver.

The Dallas Cowboys knew what they were doing all along. They wanted Murray back but only at the right price. They deemed Doug Free + Cole Beasley+ defensive upgrades, over just DeMarco Murray (who was demanding $10M per year initially).

We don’t know how this will all turn out in the end but it appears the Cowboys made the smart move regardless of outcome. DeMarco could go on to defy odds and have a great 2015, while Cowboys may struggle to suitably replace his production. Even if that happens, it would still be the smart move to make and likely in the best present and long-term interests of the team.

It may hurt but there are benefits to losing DeMarco Murray.

Next: Darren McFadden Great Low Risk/High Reward Pickup

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