Usually when a player rushes for over 1,800 yards in a season there isn’t much doubt about his future. The Dallas Cowboys face a tough decision when it comes to resigning their talented running back. They need to continue to plug holes in their defense and also figure out what to do with star wide receiver Dez Bryant. DeMarco Murray is an important player, but this team can’t afford to compromise their success by giving him a long term deal.
Murray is an exciting player. He can grind out games and haul it 30 times or electrify the offense with a breakaway touchdown. Unfortunately for him, he lacks durability. He didn’t miss a game last season for the first time in his career, but he did end up breaking his hand at the end of the season. The average career for a running back lasts about 3-4 seasons and Murray just ended his fourth. Add in the fact that more and more teams devalue his position and it seems as though big money won’t be in his future.
I also don’t think the front office completely trusts Murray. Last season provided some optimism about the full potential of Murray. It’s tough to tell if that was what should be expected or simply an aberration. The concern for Murray’s health motivated the organization to draft Joseph Randle. They also brought in former Arizona Cardinals running back Ryan Williams during training camp last season as insurance.
The Cowboys have leverage due to their young and talented offensive line. Tyron Smith, Travis Fredrick, and Zack Martin,among others, have paved the way for Murray’s career year last season. Maybe Dallas brings in a cheaper veteran to couple with Randle. I think it is entirely possible they could replicate Murray’s awesome 2014 season. Maybe those backs aren’t as talented as Murray, physically, but the offensive line makes it a little easier when they are blowing the opponent off the line every play.
The biggest reason I think Murray is in trouble is the contract of Dez Bryant. They can’t give big contracts to both and continue to build the rest of the team at same time. It is still possible that one of the players could be slapped with the franchise tag. However, most players don’t like it because their situation remains unresolved and they continue to have a dark financial cloud looming over them.
Bryant’s importance can be summed up in the catch/no catch that occurred in Green Bay. That is the type of play that separates him from many other receivers in the league. He is a game changer that must be accounted for every single play. He has accounted for 56 touchdowns in his five year career. That’s an average of 11 touchdowns per season. He also accounted for just under half of Tony Romo’s touchdowns during 2014.
Bryant’s combination of strength, speed, and athleticism is a matchup nightmare for defenses and is the reason Jerry Jones traded up to get him in the draft. I don’t think Jones made that decision if he didn’t plan to have Bryant around for a decade plus. Some might point to his sideline antics as a reason to halt extension talks, but I’d much rather have a player I needed to calm down as opposed to someone I always had to hype up.
Dez is someone who stays hungry. He doesn’t loaf or take things for granted. He wants to win and be the best player at his position…and I admire that.
Murray had an amazing 2014 that included a 12-4 record, playoff win, Pro Bowl selection, and a rushing title; however, he will likely be looking to build on, or defend those accolades on another team.
Picture by: Matthew Emmons/ USA Today Sports
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