Dallas Tags Bryant
Cowboys attention now focused on signing DeMarco Murray?
Ahead of Monday’s deadline, Dez Bryant learned that the Dallas Cowboys would be offering their All-Pro wide receiver a franchise tender for the upcoming 2015 season, earning Bryant about $13,000,000.
The franchise tag is a band-aid keeping potential free agents in place, generally at a premium, allowing teams extra time to sign a long term deal.
The Cowboys are in the midst of a coin flip decision, searching for a solution on which Pro Bowl player they will retain past this season. Now that Dallas has chosen to use the Franchise Tag for just the fifth time since 2007, Jerry Jones and company should now turn focus their attention on re-signing running back DeMarco Murray.
Many people believe by franchising Bryant this means Dallas will allow Murray to hit the open market, but this move actually gives Dallas a chance to keep both players. With Bryant locked up for this year this is a perfect opportunity to maximize both time and cash flow.
Murray, only 27, carried the workload for the Cowboys offense in 2014, and to great results. Murray led the league in carries, yards, and touchdowns while spearheading an offensive attack that posted 29.1 points per game en route to a 12-4 record and the teams first division title since 2009. With a renewed focus on the running game, Tony Romo went from being the butt of jokes, to having a superb season despite his health concerns.
A contract offered to a running back approaching 30 is always a cautionary trek, but why would you turn away the player who single handedly was a steadying force to a team that was one overturned call away from the NFC Championship game?
Murray just wrapped his 5th season in the NFL, though he has been a work horse, there is still plenty of tread left on his wheels.
With Dez’s off the field issues seemingly lessened, franchising him is a smart business decision. It delays having to commit to big money over a span of seasons, plus I still believe the Cowboys still do not fully trust Bryant to continue to make good decisions off the field.
There are a few outside factors that can throw a wrench into the entire process.
First, the reported “Dez Bryant video” which is the most talked about video in Dallas since Debbie did her thing, or the Zapruder film. Does the ongoing conversation about IF that video exists, and if so, what it shows, play anything into the Cowboys decision to franchise tag him instead of offering a long term contract?
Does the Adrian Peterson situation in Minnesota make Dallas more willing to let Murray hit the free agent market? It’s no secret AD would love to play in his home state, although the entire thing stinks of collusion, if a trade ends up being done between Dallas and the Vikings letting DeMarco go won’t sting as much. But what would Minnesota want in return? Remember the last time Dallas and Minnesota dealt for a high profile running back?
DeMarco wants to remain a Cowboy and does not seem to be after the largest payday, but there is a delicate balance for Jerry Jones to have a competitive offer, but also have an offer that fits within the salary cap and does not hamper their chances at re-signing Bryant next year.
If Dallas is smart, they will keep Murray and not fall in love with the idea of dealing for Peterson. If Murray does go elsewhere, the Cowboys will bend over backwards to make a deal for Peterson.