This post should begin with the following disclaimer:
DeMarco Murray was phenomenal in 2014 (his first full season in five years) and the numbers speak for themselves. He will always be the best single-season running back in Cowboys history, which says a lot when you think of ol' "Deuce-Deuce."
Now, back to reality.
Murray, as great as he was, is, by running back standards, about to begin the decline of his career. And it's not to be discounted that his first full season came in a contract year. Facts are facts. With that said, if the Cowboys were going to choose between giving Murray a new deal or trying to make a run at Adrian Peterson, give me the younger, less-worked Murray one thousand times over.
But it's starting to look like neither option is all that appealing, and here's why.
The Cowboys have the No. 27 pick in the draft, and according to just about every reputable mock draft out there, the two first-round backs, Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley, both have a great chance of still being there at that point.
So will either of those guys step right in and pick up where Murray left off last year? No, not a chance, especially not when it comes to pass protection, where Murray excelled. But neither of those guys are spares in that department, either.
There aren't many teams in the league that roll with one running back exclusively, and Murray was one of those guys, but it's not to say taking a committee approach is a bad idea. The Cowboys could easily pair either of those rookies with a veteran addition behind the best offensive line in football and put out similar production to Murray's in 2014.
That would allow the Cowboys to A) save money and free up cap space to improve the defense by not giving Murray a big deal, and B) let them give Dez Bryant a deal to make him happy (assuming this "video" isn't anything too serious.
It'll be hard to say goodbye to Murray after what he did in 2014, and he'll always go down as a warrior for playing through his broken hand against Indianapolis. But to run a good organization, sometimes you have to put logic over sentiment, and that's what the Cowboys would be doing by drafting a young, cheap running back and letting the high-priced free agent walk.