With the March 10th kickoff of free agency fast approaching, the rumor season is gearing up. Cowboys free agent DeMarco Murray is certainly going to see his name pop up in speculation all over the Internet. In fact, that's already begun. Ian Rapoport, already a non-favorite with Cowboys fans based on his Dez Bryant reporting, is looking at destinations for Murray and claims that the chances of Murray remaining in Dallas are slim.
Based on his understanding of Murray's situation, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport cautioned on Monday's edition of NFL Total Access that there's a "slim chance" Murray will return to Dallas once the free-agent market opens next week. It's rare for a player of Murray's caliber to give his former team a chance to match a lucrative offer once the new team has the star in the building.
Among the destinations he lists for Murray are Colts, Cardinals, Jaguars, and possibly Seahawks based on the Marshawn Lynch situation. The second part of Rapoport's statement is the more important part, about players rarely going back to their old team to match contracts once they are in another team's building and the money is being offered up right then.
On the other hand, we have Murray's stated desire to remain in Dallas. According to sources, Murray supposedly will stay in Dallas if the money and deal are similar to something he receives on the open market.
Sources expect DeMarco Murray to remain with #Cowboys if offer equal or similar to what he attracts as UFA. His salary ranked 23rd at RB— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) March 3, 2015
Here's the problem, the question without an answer at this point. Will Murray come back to the Cowboys after a deal is offered and let them match, or do the Cowboys have to make a competitive offer first, then hope that holds up to anything he would receive on the market? It is a crucial detail because as Rapoport states, once a player is in another team's building, and big numbers are being offered up, it's hard for them to pass sometimes.
Stephen Jones obviously feels like he'll get the opportunity to match anything.
Over the weekend, team vice president Stephen Jones told FOX Sports Southwest the Cowboys plan to let DeMarco Murray test free agency "and then we'll talk and see."
Murray will likely want to visit multiple teams before deciding, so Dallas might get an opportunity to match the any deal if they are so inclined. Also, Murray should really consider the line he's running behind in Dallas, and the Cowboys being a team on the way up. As Adam Schein writes:
But the Cowboys aren't the only party here that should avoid trying something new [i.e a new running back]: Murray's in the same boat. Yes, the former third-rounder is in line for a serious salary bump in his first foray into free agency. Other teams might be able to offer him more money than Dallas, but can they offer him such a quality offensive line? Absolutely not. Can they offer him the opportunity to win and make more money off the field? Probably not. There is cache to being DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys running back.
So BTB, will the Cowboys re-sign Murray, or will we see a new lead back in Dallas?