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Dallas Cowboys News And Notes: DeMarco Murray To Reunite With Sam Bradford?

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All the news that's fit to link, and a bunch of questionable stuff thrown in for good measure. Today's dead horses: bye, bye, Brucie; Leary the Load; solid grades from PFF: loss of hidden yardage; Twitter Break!; More DeMarco; implosion in Philly

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

An appetizer before we begin:

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In this time of fleeting stories based on hearsay and Twitter-hyped nonsense, let's begin with what we know to be concrete:

Bruce Carter leaves Dallas Cowboys, gets deal with Tampa Bay Buccaneers - ESPN Dallas

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carter agreed to a four-year contract on Wednesday, officially making him a former Cowboys linebacker.

Dallas Cowboys' LB need grows after Bruce Carter leaves - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

Archer writes that the loss of Carter, one day after Justin Durant signed with Atlanta, increases the team's need at linebacker, where only Rolando McClain remains on the open market. The Cowboys have apparently been in discussions with McClain’s agent but, as with everything in recent days, will not overpay.

Loss of Bruce Carter would continue a Dallas Cowboys trend - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

From 2003-10, Archer points out, the Cowboys have had seven second-round picks, and only Sean Lee (Class of 2010) has signed a second contract with the team. A lovely history it ain't:

Al Johnson (2003), Julius Jones (2004), Jacob Rogers (2004), Kevin Burnett (2005), Anthony Fasano (2006) and Martellus Bennett (2008) either never played a game (Rogers), were traded before the rookie deal ended (Fasano) or left via free agency (Johnson, Jones, Burnett, Bennett). The Cowboys took tight end Gavin Escobar in the second round in 2013, and he hasn't done much to think he will get a second contract with the Cowboys either.

The second round is about value and finding long-term fits. The Cowboys haven’t found enough of them, and that has to change.

Amen, brother.

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Roster Rundown: Leary Held His Own As The Cowboys’ Unheralded O-Lineman - Bryan Broaddus, The Mothership

The latest look at the Cowboys roster settles on the most under-the-radar of the Cowboys' Big Uglies. Here's Broaddus:

If you were to ask the five starters along the offensive line who is the nastiest player among the group...Ronald Leary would win the vote. Of the five he is clearly the least talented when you talk about [sic] athlete ability but he doesn’t take a backseat to anyone when it comes to strength and competes....Physically beat up on J.J. Watt and others during the season. Can be a load to deal with when he comes off the ball....In talking with people in the organization about his game, he has worked harder to become more of a pro with his practice habits and that has translated into his overall game improving.

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Free Agency Deal Grader  - Pro Football Focus.com

PFF's annual deal grader divides free agent signings into several categories, from "Tremendous Value!" to "You're Bringing Back Brett Favre?" The second best of these is "That'll Work Nicely," and that's where they situate the Doug Free signing. Here's the scoop:

Impact: Dallas returns all their starting line which was our top ranked unit in 2014. That’s huge with their line a big reason for their success in winning the NFC East and getting to the Divisional Round of the Playoffs. Free is coming off an injury marred year but when he was on the field proved an able pass blocker and strong run blocker. Attributes you’d expect him to carry on into his age-31 year.

Value: Just $6m guaranteed? The Cowboys have got value in the short term given the right tackle market and ensured that if Free ages rapidly they aren’t caught with something that hurts them down the road. Big win for the team.

On the other hand, they're not so keen on the Cole Beasley deal, placing it under the "Did You Really Need To Make That Move?" heading. To wit:

Impact: Including the postseason Beasley has 98 career receptions. His 1.22 yards per slot reception don’t exactly blow us away either, with the general feeling you can find a similar talent to Beasley around the league relatively comfortably. Not a bad player just not a good one.

Value: This is where the deal falls down. The Cowboys have paid him like Andrew Hawkins, and Andrew Hawkins he is not. Dependable target that they’ve ever so slightly overpaid for.

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Dallas Cowboys lose hidden value in Dwayne Harris - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

Archer argues that Harris' departure will cost the Cowboys valuable "hidden yardage":

Harris offered the Cowboys a dangerous returner. His numbers were down in 2014...but he did average 12.8 yards per punt return and 30.6 yards per kick return in 2013. He flipped field position on a number of occasions after a Cowboys' opponent had scored to give the Cowboys momentum. He was the Cowboys' best coverage guy too, leading the team in special teams tackles with 18 in 2014.

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And now it's time for today's Twitter Break, free agency style:

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Dallas Cowboys will be tested by AFC East after aggressive moves - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

As Toddzilla points out, the Cowboys will face the AFC East next season, a division that has seen all four of its teams make big free agent acquisitions. Dallas went 4-0 against the AFC in 2015; that will be a hard feat to repeat.

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Dallas Cowboys bringing in free agent FB Jed Collins for visit - Rainer Sabin, Dallas Morning News

At last! A free agent visit. Even if it's only a former Lions fullback who averaged a mere 15.4 offensive plays per game, we'll take it. Ger 'er done, Jerruh!

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And the DeMarco Murray saga continues...

Sources: Cowboys’ Murray Meets With Garrett - Mike Fisher, CBS Dallas

On Tuesday night, at the American Airlines Center, where both were in attendance at a Mavericks game, Jason Garrett met with DeMarco Murray in what Fish writes was a "significant" session.

Is DeMarco Murray close to getting leverage he needs to negotiate with Cowboys? - David Moore, Dallas Morning News

Moore writes that DeMarco needs "leverage" to move the Cowboys off of their $5 million a year offer. He appeared to have that Tuesday evening with reports that Oakland, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia all expressed varying degrees of interest, with all of those teams capable of giving him the big money his agent has been pursuing.

Where Cowboys stand as potential suitors for DeMarco Murray like Eagles, Raiders appear to thin - David Moore, Dallas Morning News

Moore updates his previous story after the Raiders signed Roy Helu and the Eagles scheduled a visit with Ryan Mathews on the expectation he’ll sign, developments that saw the leverage advantage Murray enjoyed earlier in the day evaporate.

Smart money says Cowboys playing DeMarco Murray situation right way ... here's why - Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News

The Goose reminds us that the Cowboys are smart to sit on their hands when dealing with Murray:

Understand that every free agent who signs a contract this week is going to be overpaid. And that’s the concern the Cowboys have in their dealings with their Pro Bowl runner. Someone is liable to throw crazy money at Murray. That’s the free-agent culture. If you want a player bad enough, you convince yourself to overspend for him...

Unless I’m buying a quarterback or pass rusher, I’m not spending that kind of money in March. But this is a league that does not learn its lessons well.

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And the story takes a bizarre, bitter turn...

DeMarco Murray personally reaches out to Chip Kelly to express interest in Philadelphia Eagles - Chris Mortensen, ESPN

According to Mort, Murray personally reached out to Eagles coach Chip Kelly on Wednesday morning, expressing his desire to play in Kelly's spread offense and with former Oklahoma roommate and quarterback Sam Bradford.

Of course, that was before the Eagles sealed the deal with Matthews...

New Eagles QB Sam Bradford trying to woo DeMarco Murray, who reportedly reached out to Philly - Dallas Morning News

To add insult to injury, Murray's old college roommate was working the phones, trying to get him to join him in Philadelphia:

When asked if he is trying to recruit Murray, Sam Bradford said Wednesday, "Absolutely. I've been trying my hardest. I called him. I've texted him. I've done everything. We've been in communication and I think if we could somehow land DeMarco it would be a great pickup.

"Not only is he a great player, but he's a great person. He's a really great friend of mine, too. I really think that he could help this ball club."

And then this:

DeMarco Murray Flying To Philadelphia Tomorrow - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys

*shudder*

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Cowboys fans can giggle: Eagles media, fans think world is ending over Sam Bradford trade  - Dallas Morning News

In need of solace? A little taste of the environment Murray is traveling to, a city reeking of distrust in a team that appears to be in disarray:

"This is really, truly a day for the fans of the Philadelphia Eagles to speak and speak loudly and speak strongly. Because what we witnessed yesterday was catastrophic, in my opinion. It was one of the worst trades I have ever heard in my life. There is no other shoe to drop. The only other shoe to drop is a big heavy boot and it’s gonna land right on our heads. That’s what happening with Chip Kelly, a complete and utter incompetent general manager who has completely destroyed the roster of his football [team]."