Having committed $12.8 million with the franchise tag for wide receiver Dez Bryant, the Cowboys plan to proceed carefully in free agency.
During an interview with SiriusXM NFL radio, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the team was more likely to slow-play the market, in hopes of finding some bargains after the first wave like they did last year in defensive end Jeremy Mincey.
“I don’t know if active is a good word,” Jones said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “I think active can get you in trouble in free agency. I think you have to be efficient and look for your values, and you can do good things.
“We did it last year with a player like Mincey where we got a lot of great value out of him. But at the same time, we’ve been in situations where you have to pay too much for players. You got to be very careful there. We’re certainly going to be that way. We’re going to look to be efficient. If that proves to be productive then that would be good.”
That dovetails nicely with the idea that running back DeMarco Murray would offer some degree of discount to stay home, and the Cowboys would love to drive the price down as far as they can for the reigning offensive player of the year.
“It’s one of those situations where you get down to the wire like this and free agency is right around the corner, it’s tough for a player not to want to look and see what his options may be,” Jones said. “At the same time, he understands the business of football that we can only do so much at each position. We’ve got to, at the end of the day, decide how we want to divide up the pie. Of course, we certainly want to give a nice piece of it to DeMarco.
“But we’ll just see how that works out. We really feel like we have a great relationship with DeMarco and his agent Bill Johnson. Certainly no guarantees, no promises that he’s going to bring offers back to us. But at the end of the day, I do think he wants to stay in Dallas. I know he knows we want him here. Hopefully we’ll have good communication as we move forward.”
The might, but the biggest communication is pretty clear — the Cowboys don’t plan to break the bank for Murray, or anyone other than Bryant.