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Does History Show That The Dallas Cowboys Should Move On From DeMarco Murray?

After being the NFL's leading rusher, DeMarco Murray is one of the hottest names in the NFL. With that said, is there an argument to be made that the Dallas Cowboys should let him walk in free agency?

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Just a year after carrying the ball 392 times for a ridiculous 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns, DeMarco Murray may be on his way out of Dallas. It almost seems insane to think about. How could a team just let a player who led the NFL in rushing, and won the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award, just walk in free agency? Well, the stats may explain it.

You can obviously make a strong statement for bringing back Murray, but what about the argument for letting him walk? Some interesting numbers may make the Dallas Cowboys want to look at a younger running back if the option is on the table.

Todd Archer from ESPN spoke about Murray turning 27, and explained the drop-off after a running back had a 400-touch season.

The amount of statistical information about the drop-off by a running back after a 400-touch season has been staggering. Of the 42 cases in NFL history in which a runner combined for more than 400 carries and catches, 35 had fewer touches, 33 had fewer yards from scrimmage, 25 averaged fewer yards per touch, 25 had fewer touchdowns and 20 played in fewer games the following season.

Now, before you tell me that it's obvious to expect a drop-off after rushing for 1,845 yards and averaging 4.7 yards per carry, let's look at another statistic that was explained. This one comes from @ESPNNFL:

Murray is a very interesting situation due to the fact that he may be 27, but in the three seasons prior to 2014, he played in 37 games (averaging just over 12 games per season), while rushing a total of 542 times. His body may not have the wear and tear that you'd expect on a running back heading into his fifth season in the NFL, but you also need to factor in the old injury issues that he's dealt with.

The Curse Of 370

And then comes the curse of 370. Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report did an in-depth breakdown of players who have rushed 370 times or more in a single season. The chart includes a list of 29 players who have accomplished this, and explains their struggles the following year. One portion worth mentioning is this:

Meanwhile, 12 of 28 times (including Ricky Williams' retirement in 2004) running backs who carried the ball more than 370 yards in a season saw their production drop by half or more the following year. Nineteen missed time the following season. Five missed at least half the following campaign, and that's without including Williams' year away playing Xbox and eating Pop-Tarts.

Those are some incredible stats that I've highlighted, and it truly leaves a cause for concern. Murray may come back and have another incredible season, but the "Curse of 370" seems to be a real thing.

With all things taken into consideration, would you pay the high-dollar price tag that Murray will likely be asking? Some believe that Murray could take a team-friendly deal in order to remain in Dallas, but after the huge season that he put together he might want to maximize his dollars.

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