With Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray both hitting the free agent market and both being key, central figures in the Dallas Cowboys' return to prominence in 2014, it seems the Cowboys are going to at least try to have both back in Cowboys uniforms in 2015.
In fact, there is an absolute zero chance Bryant is playing elsewhere in 2015, so the question is whether Murray will return after setting a new single-season franchise rushing mark in 2014.
The Cowboys are almost certainly going to use the franchise tag on one of those two players, meaning they'd be locked in for 2015 under a one-year contract worth the average of the top five players at their respective positions in the league.
The Cowboys haven't used the franchise tag very many times since the league instituted the rule in 1993, and our friends at The Dallas Morning News looked at each individual case. Surprisingly, it's usually worked out pretty well for the player and the team, and here's a look back at each time the team has used the designation.
The first time the Cowboys used it was in 2002 when they tagged tackle Flozell Adams, who signed a five-year deal the following offseason. In 2008, they used it on safety Ken Hamlin, who ended up signing a long-term deal before the season ever began. In 2012, the Cowboys tagged Anthony Spencer, who had a career year that season. They used the tag on him again in 2013, and he missed 15 games after knee surgery.
So the results have generally been pretty good for both sides. Now, Bryant has already gone on record that he's going to disappointed if the team franchises him instead of giving him a long-term deal, leaving some to wonder if he might not hold out if given the franchise tag.
We'll know soon enough, as the deadline to franchise someone is March 2.