"When I say nothing, I say everything." That is a great lyric taken from musician Jack White off his new "Lazaretto" album. I can't help but keep those words in mind as we watch the insanity ensue. The Cowboys are in "Three Wise Monkey" mode. If you're not familiar with that term, it's the see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil.
All of this talk is just that - talk. The Cowboys' free agency period doesn't begin until price tags start coming down. That's not to say that things cannot happen, but Stephen Jones and Company are not going to get into bidding wars with trigger-happy general managers. "The DeMarco-Decision" is made and he's off to join the Philadelphia Eagles. Murray's father relays that DeMarco felt spurned by the lack of bidding on the Cowboys side. To that, I say, the NFL is a business, and you just can't pay everybody.
DeMarco Murray is a great player and has been for the Cowboys for some time. We all care about what this decision means, yet it wasn't that difficult for Dallas if you think about it. Five years at $42 million, with $21 million guaranteed, was never in the Cowboys plans.
DeMarco Murray is 27 and coming off a season where he carried the ball almost 400 times and had 1,845 yards. It's safe to say those gaudy statistics will not be duplicated in 2015. He's also one year away from the magic number of 28 in which so many running backs before him have fallen. Murray has done more than enough to deserve a payday, but the truth is the NFL doesn't value running backs the way they did when Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith were playing. Honestly, they don't even value them as much as they did in 2007.
According to OverTheCap.com, the running back with the highest guaranteed money going into free agency was Arian Foster at $20,750,000. Even "All-Day" Adrian Peterson has a lower guaranteed figure than Foster. That seems like a lot of money to give to a guy who has been in the league since 2009 and has only two seasons where he didn't miss games. What about DeMarco? Well, Murray's been in the league since 2011 and 2014 was his only full season in the backfield. Were you ready to pay him over $8 million a year for what's likely to have been five years?
There are a handful of running backs available in this draft that I would rather take a chance on than offer that big money contract to Murray. As I said on Twitter a few days ago, I'm not a DeMarco-hater, I'm a money-saver.
The Dallas Cowboys approach to free agency is the right one. Sure, you are going to miss out on the really big names that are available. However, ask yourself why they are available and things become a lot clearer. Though Detroit loved what Ndamukong Suh brought on Sunday, they didn't love it enough pay $114 million with $60 million guaranteed.
When you get involved in bidding wars, nobody really wins. Dallas knows because too often they've paid those tags and had buyer's remorse seasons later. Miles Austin, Marion Barber, Ken Hamlin, and even Brandon Carr all came with exorbitant prices. We will certainly see if Brandon Carr is willing to take a pay-cut because I can assure you nobody will pay him as much as the Cowboys. Even if his salary gets cut in half, that's still more than he would make on the market this year.
The free agency period is a game of roulette, and I would rather make the player bet on themselves. I stand firm that the Cowboys will find suitable candidates to build their roster. They also have the NFL's best building exercise still ahead in late April, the draft. Dallas will not panic by seeing Murray leave to play with an organization willing to pay him more. Philadelphia now has a crowded backfield to deal with. Dallas now moves on to find his replacement.
Super Bowls haven't been won during free agency since the salary cap era began and it won't happen in 2015. Slow and steady wins the race and the Cowboys know this. The front office will not allow themselves to be held hostage by players' demands. Dallas has shown great poise and composure in the last few seasons and it will continue in 2015. There are still plenty of guys out there and Dallas will do their bidding on their own time. DeMarco or no DeMarco, the Cowboys were prepared for every outcome.