A lot has been made about DeMarco Murray and the Dallas Cowboys over the course of the past year. Contract disputes led to Murray spurning the Cowboys and signing with the division rival Philadelphia Eagles. In his last season in Dallas, Murray won the AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award. In his first season with the Eagles, Murray was used in a system that didn't fit his strong-suit, unlike in Dallas where he was used in a zone-blocking scheme. With the Eagles, he took a major step backward, rushing the football only 193 times for 702 yards and just six touchdowns.
Meanwhile in Dallas, the Cowboys signed a has-been, never-was version of Darren McFadden. Despite not starting the season as the starter, McFadden finished with just under 1,100 yards on 239 carries. A lot of the credit is due to McFadden. He was the healthiest he'd been since coming into the league and he finished with his best season since in his 2010 season with the Oakland Raiders. However, it also proves that there isn't a better place in football to carry the football than in Dallas, thanks to four absolute studs in Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, and La'el Collins.
While McFadden has all the right in the world to start Week 1 in 2016 as the starter, it should also be said that McFadden will be in the last year of his contract in 2015. And considering he'd be 30 entering the 2017 season, it's hard to imagine that the Cowboys would extend him past 2016. It's not just his age and his injury history that's a factor in finding the Cowboys' running back of the future, it's also the fact that he's more of a man-blocking scheme type of runner. So while McFadden is slated to be the guy behind Tony Romo this upcoming season, the Cowboys will target a running back at some point this offseason, whether that be through free agency or through the draft. And if he becomes available, could Murray be making his way back to Dallas?
The idea of bringing back Murray makes sense. In 2014, both parties benefitted from each other tremendously. With Murray back in Dallas, the Cowboys would be able to complete their zone-blocking scheme. Even though McFadden had the better season between the two, the reality is that Murray would be far more productive behind Dallas' offensive line than the McFadden. Murray's skillset is tailor-made for the Cowboys. In 2014, Romo had the best season of his career in terms of efficiency. And for that reason, as well as the fact that the Cowboys know what they can be with Murray, it seems to make sense to bring back the Oklahoma product.
Despite all of this, I'm against the idea of Murray returning to the Cowboys. In just a small sample size, the combination of Romo and McFadden was a good one. In the one complete game they played together, against the Miami Dolphins in Week 11, McFadden carried the football 29 times for 124 yards. To use money elsewhere in free agency this offseason, the Cowboys would be better suited to bypass Murray in free agency, and instead draft a running back to pair with McFadden in 2016. By doing that, the Cowboys would have money to use to other positions, such as cornerback and linebacker.