Coming on the heels of the Dallas Cowboys franchising star wideout Dez Bryant against his wishes, Mark Lane of FOX Sports Southwest reported over the weekend that Dallas will let equally-as-important RB DeMarco Murray test the free agency market.
According to mercurial owner Jerry Jones, negotiations with Murray’s agent have been slow. Although he would never say this, you can believe that Jones and the Cowboys leadership anticipate the open market serving Murray a huge slice of humble pie. With the across-the-board devaluation of running backs, Murray’s injury history, and the historically huge workload he shouldered last year, most teams will be hesitant about Murray’s value moving forward to say the least.
That being said, some team is going to give him millions of dollars, so let’s see who the 5 most likely teams are:
Dallas Cowboys. As Jones said, “I do believe deep down he’d love to stay in Dallas,” and I couldn’t agree more. Murray has spent the first four years of his career in Dallas and played a starring role in the team’s liberating return to the playoffs last year. Given enough dollars, there’s no reason he’d leave that. But that’s just the problem — Jerry World is strapped for cash.
Indianapolis Colts. Where Dallas lacks cash, the Colts have barrels full of it. They also clearly have a need at running back after the Trent Richardson trade will likely go down as one of the worst of all time. If Murray wants a legitimate shot at a championship, the Colts make the most sense, probably even more so than Dallas.
Arizona Cardinals. Arizona is another team that has a lot of money to spend and believes they’re one piece away from legitimate title contention. Hell, they were legitimate contenders last season until Carson Palmer went down. Head Coach Bruce Arians has also expressed the need to get bigger in the backfield. Pair a guy a like Murray with Andre Ellington and a healthy Palmer and the Cardinals are a dangerous team.
Washington Redskins. You can never count out Dan Snyder when it comes to questionable signings in free agency. Given all the concerns we’ve already mentioned about Murray and the position he plays in general, toss in an established guy like Alfred Morris, and this just feels like something that would make you say, “Wait, that makes no sense! Who’d he sign with again? The Redskins? Oh, ok… guess I should’ve seen that coming. Another Snyder Classic!”
Oakland Raiders. The Raiders are desperate for players with actual talent and, like the Redskins, love to overpay veterans with questionable futures. The big difference is that the Raiders kind of half to, since no one wants to ride out their playing days in Oakland unless they’re getting paid handsomely to do so.
Teams can’t begin negotiating with unrestricted free agents until March 7, and no contract can be officially signed until March 10th, so we have a few days at least to see how this all shakes out.