One of the biggest names in the upcoming free agency is DeMarco Murray, with the Dallas Cowboys allowing him to test the market, obviously gathering a lot of interest already, with teams like the Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals likely to try and sign him.
Murray led the NFL in rushing last season 1845 yards on 392 rushes, scoring 13 touchdowns. It was Murray’s first fully-healthy season, playing in all 16 games and his second consecutive season with at least 1000 yards, rushing for 1121 in 2013. He also caught a career high 57 passes last season, resulting in 416 yards. He also fumbled the ball five times last season, another career high that comes from being used a lot more than ever before.
The Cowboys would like to keep him, but it all depends on the price. With Dez Bryant also at the end of his contract, the Cowboys preferred giving the wide receiver a franchise tag and Murray, who’ll be seeking a long term deal teams don’t really love giving running backs these days, is likely going to cost more than the Cowboys can afford to pay him. Maybe letting him go after using him on so many snaps last season isn’t such a bad idea.
But Murray is going to have suitors. The Colts and Jaguars don’t make sense just because they have more cap space than any other team in the NFL. Both teams struggled when running the ball last season. Well, the Jaguars struggled in pretty much everything they did, but if Blake Bortles is the quarterback they’re going with, it’s time to start adding substantial weapons for him to use. Luck is already on the brink of greatness, but he needs a running back to make things easier.
The Cardinals aren’t drowning in cap space, but they don’t have too many needs on defense and can make a move at Murray to see how much he’s actually asking for. Their running game wasn’t a joke, but it wasn’t too impressive either. For a team with a quarterback that’s prone to break down at one point or another and not a lot of talent behind him, Murray might be an excellent insurance policy and a potent offensive weapon.
The Seahawks might be saying again & again that Marshawn Lynch isn’t leaving, but it won’t be surprising to suddenly hear of him being fed up with football and retiring, or giving the the Seahawks problems with his contract talks. If Lynch does move out of the picture, the Seahawks need an answer for the hole at running back, and use the $7 million that will free up. Murray, obviously, will be a prime candidate, but only if Lynch leaves.
The Cowboys don’t have anything too impressive waiting behind Murray: Joseph Randle who shows promise but has off-field issues and Ryan Williams, a practice squad player. If Murray does end up signing somewhere else, the Cowboys might just have to go and take someone in the draft or try and find a useful bargain in free agency. Deep down, they believe their offensive line can make most running backs quite useful.