It’s All Down To Philadelphia Or Dallas For DeMarco Murray
- Updated: March 12, 2015
DeMarco Murray headed into this season knowing that it was very important. He was going to be a free agent at the end of the season and wanted to secure a good deal, whether it would be with the Cowboys or another team. But he did more than have a good season, he was one of the top rushers in the NFL. In his fourth season, he had the most carries in his career, yet he stayed healthy for all 16 games in his career and posted over 1800 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. Some would say he would be a piece that you would lock up if you were Dallas. But Dallas so far has thought otherwise. And like a free agent should, Murray is looking around to see what offers are available to him at this time. He was wanted by some teams, but it seems to have come down to Philadelphia and Dallas. Murray, in fact, is supposed to meet with the Eagles today in regards to potentially playing with them next season. The even more alarming part for Cowboys fans is that Murray initiated the call to Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. But where would he fit best? Should he come back to Dallas or leave for the Eagles and Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense?
If he is to stay in Dallas, he may not get the money that he is looking for. There have been rumors that the Cowboys offered him a deal in the range of $4-$5 million per year. For a running back that knows this could be his one and only payday, Murray probably is scoffing at that offer at this point considering what others have offered him. But for purely football reasons, it would be a good fit having him stay in Dallas a little bit longer. Murray was the central focus of the offense. He got the ball 25 times a game. In Dallas he could expect that to continue next season as Dallas makes a push to go further than this season. Another benefit he would have is playing with one of the best wide receivers in the game in Dez Bryant. With Bryant out on the perimeter along with the veteran Jason Witten at tight end, the weapons around him would be to his benefit. The more Witten and Bryant are able to cause issues, the more people are going to vacate the box and give Murray even more room to run. But the biggest benefit for Murray to stay in Dallas would be the offensive line. Through the draft, the Cowboys have created a strong line that resembles the lines the Cowboys had in their championship days in the 1990’s. All indications are that line will continue to get better because of the young pieces they have up there and that can do nothing but benefit the talents of Murray, who can get downhill in a hurry when he finds that crease.
The positives are good for Murray, but one of the negatives remains the money he would be paid. He would be leaving money on the table to return to Dallas. And being that he is not a huge endorsement guy, he would more than likely not have any additional money coming in to supplement what he would be making. For a player playing a game that does not have a lengthy timespan, he has to get as much as he can while he is playing, or hire someone to help him smartly invest what he gets. That may not be the route Murray is trying to go in terms of working from a budget that he feels should be higher. Another issue is the team that surround Murray in terms of the defense. The defense played well last year and they overachieved. But can the Cowboys count on that defense to be as good as they were last season. If he is able to run the football as well as he did behind that offensive line next season, then that may keep them off the field next year as much as they were this years. But if the Cowboys offense has moments where the sputter, then the defense would have to step up and make it happen. They did last year, but each year brings its own set of issues.
The Eagles have had back-to-back double-digit win seasons but only appeared one time in the playoffs, where they lost to the New Orleans Saints in 2013. But The Eagles seemed to be moving in the right direction when their offseason began. Of course, the questions linger as to what they will do without some key pieces from last season, but the team is still a team that has had success in back-to-back years. The Eagles would potentially be a good fit for Murray due to his skills as a North/South runner. And they could also be a good fit for him because they could pay him more than the Cowboys could. If the Eagles line is healthy going into the season, he could get behind them and make some fans forget Shady McCoy a little easier. Another positive for him the connection he has with recently acquired quarterback Sam Bradford. Murray and Bradford were teammates at the University Of Oklahoma and Bradford has admitted he has been trying to recruit DeMarco Murray to Philly. It would be like old days at Oklahoma for these two should he come to Philly. Another positive is the fast-pace offense that Philly runs. Chip Kelly likes to control the tempo and when he and the Eagles are running plays at breakneck speed, it does not allow the defense to get much rest between plays. And because of that, the pace will help the defense tire out quicker than they usually would. And when they tire out, then DeMarco could be the recipient of those great carries that come when a defense is worn out.
Philly has some good things, but there are definitely some bad things that could await him in Philadelphia. One situation is not having a wide receiver or another weapon offensively that could take some attention away from him in the backfield. The Eagles best receiver, Jeremy Maclin, left to go play for the Kansas City Chiefs next season. Their next best receiver on the roster is second-year wide receiver Jordan Matthews. And at this point in his career, he may not be ready to assume the lead wide receiver role. That could cause for more clogged running lanes for him to try and make something happen. Another big issue for Murray could be the offensive line there. The Eagles had injuries along the line last season and there are no guarantees that this line can stay healthy and be as good as the line he ran behind in Dallas. There would be no guarantees that he would be able to do the same things that he did in Dallas in Philly. But the biggest negative out of this is the quarterback situation. In essence, you now have an oft-injured former #1 draft pick in Sam Bradford and another 1st rounder that never quite developed the entire way in Mark Sanchez. The Eagles were 4-4 under Sanchez, but he definitely showed that he can be a spot starter at best. As far as Bradford, he cannot stay healthy. He has had two missed seasons due to knee injuries. Compared to what’s going on in Philly, the Cowboys have the more stable quarterback of the two teams. And that could give them the advantages.
Decision time is looming for DeMarco Murray as the free agency bonanza has been going on for a while now. Most of the shocking moves are out of the way at this point and there are some that are still making their decision like Murray. Does he take more money and join the Eagles or does he take less and stay in California? Money versus comfort seems to be the issue here. It should be interesting to see what he does with his decision.