With the Bills willing to pay running back LeSean McCoy $10.25 million for 2015, the Seahawks giving running back Marshawn Lynch $12 million for 2015, and the Vikings begging running back Adrian Peterson to take $12.75 million for 2015, a guy with only four years of service and who set a franchise rushing record can’t get his team to get within even shouting distance of eight figures.
For Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, the market will become more obvious as of Saturday, when the three-day window for legal tampering opens. The Cowboys are counting on Murray bringing his best offer back to Valley Ranch, and they’re hoping that he’ll take something close to it.
The Cowboys believe Murray’s success flows not from his skill set but from the offense that has been constructed around him, with a stout offensive line, a franchise quarterback, a potential Hall of Fame tight end, and arguably the best receiver in football. The Cowboys also believe that other teams believe it, too.
But now that Murray has a chance at the market, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT the 2014 NFL rushing leader is intrigued. With the Cowboys unwilling to give Murray anything significant absent a sawed-off shotgun to the temple, Murray will have an opportunity in the next three days to feel truly wanted.
The fact that Murray hasn’t engaged in any grandstanding about his value doesn’t mean he’ll be passive about his current team’s passive-aggressive approach to his contract. Quietly proud and deeply principled, Murray may decide that he won’t give the Cowboys a chance to even offer a hometown discount over the best offer he gets from a team that makes him the kind of offer the Cowboys have refused to make.
But who will do it? The teams mentioned above are committed to making McCoy, Lynch, and Peterson their workhorses. Many teams now resist riding one guy, which means they wouldn’t be interested in paying Murray to be the main man.
The Giants could be an intriguing option, keeping him in the division and pairing him with Eli Manning. The Vikings, if Peterson told coach Mike Zimmer and G.M. Rick Spielman that he wants out of Minnesota, would make sense — if they can synchronize a trade for Peterson with the pursuit of Murray.
The Cardinals, 49ers, Colts, Jets, and Raiders also could become intriguing options for Murray, if it becomes widely believed that Murray would really leave Dallas and if those teams want a one-man band at tailback.
To date, no one has believed that Murray would leave, in large part because the Cowboys have been putting out the word that he won’t. Once the legal tampering period opens, Murray can say plenty via the offers he receives — and with what he does with them come Tuesday.