A lot has happened to the Dallas Cowboys since Dez Bryant caught it at Lambeau Field.
Someone who’s experienced a lot of action, depending on how you define action, is running back DeMarco Murray.
Murray scorned Cowboys fans in the offseason following the epic defeat in Green Bay, just one year after rushing for more yards in a single-season than any Dallas player ever. How did he scorn them, exactly? He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Of course, infamously, Murray was dissatisfied in the city of brotherly love, looking to escape after just one season (he ran 193 times for 702 yards and six scores that season). There were whispers that Philadelphia and Dallas considered consummating a trade, but Howie Roseman shipped DeMarco off to Tennessee.
“It was, like, 95 percent sure I was going to come back there,” Murray said in a phone interview. “I have a lot of respect for those guys -- the Jones family, Will [McClay], coach [Jason] Garrett obviously and [Tony] Romo and Wit [Jason Witten], all those guys. I still consider them a great franchise, and they’re great friends of mine.”
The Titans logo is an epic-looking T surrounded by three little stars, and many thought those would be the only stars Murray ever wore on his helmet again. DeMarco said he looked forward to a fresh start, but his new organization combined trading for him with the drafting of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Derrick Henry.
Murray has done alright for himself with the Titans, although he hasn’t necessarily been a part of this renaissance that has them in the playoffs. Through two seasons DeMarco has carried the ball 477 times for 1,946 yards and 15 touchdowns as a Titan. That’s almost his stat line in his last season in Dallas (392 for 1,845 and 13).
Henry has become the primary ballcarrier for the Titans over the latter stages of the season and into the playoffs, he’s clearly the future of their offense. DeMarco hasn’t played since Christmas Eve. You don’t have to be a genius to see the writing on the wall.
For the third time in four years, DeMarco Murray is likely going to be looking for a new team this offseason, and it’s worth noting that a particular detail surrounds the situation this time that didn’t the last.
DeMarco will likely have a choice where he ends up.
When Murray was traded to the Titans, it was no secret that he wanted to head back to Dallas. Everyone, literally, was aware of the place the Cowboys held in his heart.
DeMarco Murray's affinity for DAL is evident. So is his $13M cap hit for #Eagles. Plenty to work out. Teams know his situation is unsettled— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 26, 2016
It’s a fun “what if” to consider that trade happening at the time. Dallas likely never drafts Ezekiel Elliott, and DeMarco Murray would have been the man looked to lead the franchise in the wake of Tony Romo going down both in 2015 and 2016. He could have been the guy.
Such would hardly be the case if DeMarco returned to Dallas in 2018, but would it really be the case anywhere? The NFL is experiencing a renaissance of its own with young running backs. Consider that Minnesota, New Orleans, Carolina, Jacksonville, and Kansas City all made the playoffs with prolific rookie runners in 2017. Young is in.
Murray will likely be relegated to complimentary work wherever he chooses to call home next, but what’s to say that wouldn’t be Dallas? Darren McFadden retired before the season ended, and Alfred Morris is likely going to get an offer the Cowboys won’t match.
It stands to reason that with Ezekiel Elliott and Rod Smith that the Cowboys can simply add a third running back to complete the trio and play special teams via the draft (Darius Jackson truthers are still sobbing). What if Dallas wants to provide themselves with a bit of insurance in the department by bringing in someone who knows the system better than anyone on earth who isn’t Zeke?
It’s an interesting idea, fueled mostly by the notion that Murray still holds an affinity for Dallas. If he wanted to return two years ago, what’s stopping him now? Perhaps the answer to that could be Dallas folding their arms and saying they’re good, happy trails.
So BTB, would any of you be interested in a pursuit of Murray if he was released by the Titans this offseason?