Dez Bryant has already gone on record saying he'll be offended and hurt and feel like his loyalty is being tested if he's placed with the franchise tag this offseason. All the while, DeMarco Murray is set to become a free agent, as well, and the Cowboys must figure out what to do with their all-time single-season leading rusher.
Murray will likely earn a pretty nice payday, by running back standards, anyway. Running backs get paid less than wide receivers, and the whole idea of the franchise tag is that a player with the tag earns the average of the top five salaries at that position in the NFL.
So you can pay Dez around $13 million for one year under the franchise tag, or you can pay Murray considerably less than that and see if he can continue his dominance of last season that featured a tremendous workload at age 27, about the age running backs typically begin to decline.
So, if the Cowboys can get Murray on a short-term deal, somewhere in the three-year range at an affordable price or if they can bring in someone comparable like a Mark Ingram, then they can get away with franchising Bryant and risk making him angry.
Otherwise, it just serves the Cowboys' best interest to give Dez a long-term deal, make him happy and watch him dominate.