Cowboys: Murray Demotion Justifies Dallas Decision


Former Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray demoted in Philadelphia as Eagles begin to experience buyers remorse and justify Dallas decision to part ways.

The Dallas Cowboys made a business decision last March to allow their all-time single-season-leading rusher to walk away for nothing. Running back DeMarco Murray wasn’t exactly getting the offers he was looking for from around the league and the Cowboys fit into that frugal fraternity of NFL franchises that weren’t going to break the bank for a fifth-year runner with one healthy season and as many dominant seasons from a statistical standpoint.

Yes, the signing of Murray by Philadelphia Eagles mad-scientist head coach Chip Kelly was very odd, especially seeing as how the former Oregon college coach was already in the process of signing San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews to a contract as well.

Just before any talk about defensive end Greg Hardy began, the loss of Murray was, by far, the biggest story line surrounding the Cowboys.

For the desperately envious Eagles fan base, this development was received as though this fledgling franchise had just acquired the re-incarnation of Emmitt Smith. They really thought that Murray would come close to his 2015 totals on the ground while pushing Philadelphia back to the top of the NFC East this season.

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Well, the Eagles may well win an NFC East division that’s easily the worst in the NFL, yet the recently reported demotion of Murray by the Eagles tells you all you need to know about the quality of this signing.

Wait, no it doesn’t.

There’s also the fact that the Eagles reduced Murray’s role before their most fortunate victory in 20 years, a 35-28 win over ‘Deflator’ Tom Brady and those highly ethical New England Patriots.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Murray’s reduced role was actually a step up for a team just trying to stay in the mix in the NFC East. Murray offered the following after playing far fewer snaps than he generally does at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.

"You always want an opportunity to play and obviously run the ball, but we got the big victory so that’s all that matters. Things we were doing were working so it went well for us."

Incidentally, the Eagles scored a staggering 21 points courtesy of their defense and special teams.

Murray, in a Philly offensive performance that didn’t exactly require much with so many Christmas presents flying around, toted the football for just 24 yards on eight carries. Quarterback Sam Bradford threw the ball for 120 yards on 14-24 attempts.

Murray and the Eagles better hope those bonus touchdowns continue because those numbers won’t win another game all year.

What’s shocking is that the Murray signing has been even worse than I expected. I would have been happy to bet the farm I don’t actually own that Murray would fall at least 300 yards short of last year’s 1,845 yards rushing. Having said that, I’ll bet Murray would take a 1,545 yard ’15 effort and run with it at this point.

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Instead, the former Oklahoma Sooners star will come nowhere close, at least not the way things look right now.

At this time a year ago, Murray was leading the NFL with 1,427 yards with four games remaining.

This season, Murray sits at just 569 yards, totals that would remind some of a backup running back.

Murray’s replacement, former Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden, actually has 687 yards in his first season with the club.

Given the horrid injury history of Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo this season, you really think that Murray would have made a lick of difference? This is not to suggest that Murray would not have helped, but the reality is that no running back is going to fare well against a bunch of eight man fronts because the passing game just isn’t scary.

Fun fact: The first game in which Murray failed to gain 100 yards in 2014 came on Week 9 when the Cowboys played the Arizona Cardinals in Arlington. You remember who was the quarterback for Dallas during that 28-17 loss?

Brandon Weeden.

That gives you an idea of what Murray might have meant to the Cowboys this season.

Yes, the Cowboys dodged a major financial bullet during the Murray sweepstakes, a particular lottery that was quite expensive but also one that didn’t offer much reward for the ‘winning’ Eagles franchise.

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Fortunately, the Eagles were happy to step in front of their hated division rival to take that bullet – Philadelphia is known as ‘The City of Brotherly Love,’ right?

Regardless of how this season ends up for the Cowboys and the Eagles, there’s a clear winner in this event and it happens to be the team not wearing the blue star.