Best case scenario for the Dallas Cowboys, would have been to extend Dez Bryant long-term, as he has become one of the elite receivers in the NFL. The unfortunate thing that likely halted that discussion, is the lingering issue about the incident involving Bryant, which may or may not result in a suspension down the line. For all we know, DeMarco Murray may test the market to see how the league view’s his worth, only to return to Jerry World with that respectable extension they recently offered him. You can bet that Tony Rom and the rest of the offense wants to keep the breakout back in town. And, how about his contributions to getting head coach Jason Garret an extension of his own?
Murray had shown flashes before 2014, but the running back’s injury history has been the recurring issue and that even goes for his career campaign this past season. Granted, he gutted out a broken bone in his hand to lead the league in rushing, will he ever be able to dodge a bullet and give you something to worry about in the future? That is why the franchise tag would have made perfect sense for the Cowboys, giving Murray high pay for one season to prove himself again.
Well, that won’t be the case this offseason and of course, the leading rusher is going to garner a lot of interest in free agency. Knowing everything that we know about Murray’s injury history, the fact that he ran behind one of the better O-lines in all of football, and his playmaking ability as a receiver as well, there isn’t much pointing toward stability by signing him to be the featured tailback. He is Pro Bowl player, but you know how the running back position is looked at these days, with skepticism and a shorter career span than most positions.
I would feel absolutely comfortable with the gamble to commit to Murray, but only on a few teams that could be a great fit. Andrew Luck and the Colts threw more passes than any other team in the league. Ahmad Bradshaw was put on the shelf and Trent Richardson has been a bust. Inking Murray to Indy would be great for both parties, and would definitely improve the reigning AFC South champions. Murray has expressed his priority of winning over taking the biggest contract proposal, so I don’t really see the Jaguars in the hunt, or any other struggling franchise for that matter. Arizona is a different story. They could have a dynamic backfield between Murray and Andre Ellington, a guy that should be involved, just not with the full workload in the backfield. Plus, Bruce Arians is one of the finest coaches with a pair of awards, Carson Palmer will be ready to go to battle with a good receiving core, and the defense overachieved.
There’s plenty of other teams that could enter the mix, but as of right now we just went over a few of the teams that have reported interest in signing Murray. None of these other teams are even close in talent, when compared to the line that Dallas has developed. Without a doubt, Murray is the most prized back on the market, but when you take a step back and look at things, only his 2014 season truly separates him from a player like Ryan Mathews, free agent out of San Diego.