As the 2014 season wore on, so to did the body of Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray. Murray, who led the NFL with 392 carries last year, took a brutal beating as the Cowboys’ workhorse. With his contract expiring, Murray’s prolific season may actually hurt him in the long run.
Because Murray suffered so many hits, many feel that his body may be wearing down, leaving him ineffective for the team that signs him to his next contract. Previous reports have stated that Murray and his agent rejected a “low-ball” four-year contract offer from Dallas. The Cowboys’ weak offer has further pushed teams away from Murray. Sports agent Gary Glick tells Philadelphia Sports Nation that Dallas may already have keyed in on a replacement.
From what I hear, and from the rumor mills, Dallas is going to [acquire] Adrian Peterson.
Peterson is a native of Texas, and had reportedly expressed interest in joining the Cowboys last offseason. Because he was out of football, Peterson did not take the wear and tear that other running backs took last year. Given his freshness, Peterson would serve as a carbon copy replacement for DeMarco Murray: as a back who can carry the load as a focal point of the offense (he averaged 20.9 rushes per game for the 2012 and 2013 seasons).
These developments have raised the question of whether a running back is truly worth the coin he used to be, with many teams relying on a committee of tailbacks to run the ball. Asked if the recent movement has changed the way sports agencies view the value of running back clients, Glick responded, “I think for the bigger agencies, it has.”
Glick also noted that Dallas is likely to extend Dez Bryant’s contract, as his terrific season proved he is one of the elite receivers in the NFL. A player who was once marred by red flags off the field has finally cleaned up his act. “He’s cleaned that up quite a bit, from what I hear,” Glick acknowledged.
Bryant and Murray are just some of the high-caliber players hitting the market this offseason as part of a free agency class deemed to be the best ever. One possible target hitting the open market is Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell, who started opposite of Richard Sherman last season. While it would appear players like Maxwell and Darrelle Revis are in for massive paydays, Glick notes that the market is what dictates a player’s value: “It’s based on the market, so it’s hard to tell,” Glick said.
Should Dallas retain Dez Bryant, and replace Pro Bowl back DeMarco Murray with a former MVP in Peterson, it will once again be a major player in the NFC. The Eagles very well may need players like Maxwell to slow down the galloping Cowboys’ passing attack. The moves and countermoves these two teams make this offseason will certainly shape the results of the two matchups this fall.
UPDATE: Peterson has been reinstated into the league, after September 12 charges of child abuse forced the NFL to suspend the Vikings’ running back indefinitely.
Gary Glick tells Philadelphia Sports Nation that based on “talking with people, Jerry’s relationship with Peterson, and the cap room they opened up,” the Cowboys are going to make a play for Adrian Peterson.
The Cowboys have posted two stories on their team site debating whether or not to sign the running back. Since Peterson is under contract with Minnesota, the Cowboys’ actions seem to be along the lines of tampering. Whether or not the NFL presses consequences remains to be seen.