Dallas Cowboys Rumors: Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Marshawn Lynch Options As Dez Bryant Free Agent Priority Over DeMarco Murray Contract?

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Feb 16, 2015 10:36 AM EST
DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys
DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys runs for a touchdown as Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts and Jairus Byrd #31 of the New Orleans Saints watches in the first half at AT&T Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Arlington, Texas."

The Dallas Cowboys are coming into the offseason with Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray hitting the free agent market and Bryant appears to be the priority for Jerry Jones and if the team lets Murray go, players like Frank Gore, Marshawn Lynch and Mark Ingram could be potential targets to replace him for Tony Romo.

The Cowboys made it to the playoffs and won the NFC East title last season, but they lost to the Packers after getting a call reversed on Bryant. Jones has spoken about signing back Murray and Bryant this offseason and he said that bringing the two players back would be "difficult" on the salary cap. According to ESPN Dallas, Todd Archer writes that the Cowboys do have enough space to sign back Murray and Bryant to contracts, but there is a chance that they will let the running back walk in free agency.

Murray is coming off of a career season, but with his injury history and the running back position getting devalued in the NFL, the Cowboys may not want to pay out another big contract. Bryant is expected to get a long term deal and if that doesn't work out, the team has the franchise tag as an option. According to ESPN.com, the franchise tag for wide receivers this year is expected to be near $13 million. The website also reports that the salary cap overall is expected to rise, which could help the Cowboys sign their stars.

Frank Gore is hitting the free agent market along with names like CJ Spiller, Mark Ingram, Ben Tate and Shane Vereen and those players could be potential targets for the Cowboys. The Seahawks and Marshawn Lynch may not be able to agree on a deal and could become available, while the Vikings could cut Adrian Peterson loose. If that happens, expect the Cowboys to go after Peterson, as Jones has spoken about his affinity for the running back in the past and he is also from Texas.

Archer writes that the salary cap situation is not great heading into the offseason for the Cowboys, but they have a number of different moves they can make to free up space. The Cowboys likely will make some cuts to veteran players and they can free up money if they let go of Brandon Carr or they could ask him to restructure his deal to take a pay cut. The team can save $8 million by cutting him loose, while Doug Free and Henry Melton are set to go and will free over $15 million. Archer also adds that Romo may be asked to restructure his deal for more relief.

Bryant had another massive season with 88 catches for 1320 yards and 16 touchdowns and he is likely not going anywhere, as the team will tag him without a free agent long term deal. Murray is an interesting situation, as Andrew Brandt at SI.com writes that teams could be cautious when siging the running back, as he touched the ball nearly 500 times through the entire 2014 run and the playoffs. Murray is 27 years old and has an injury history and that could cause the Cowboys to try and bring him in on a more team-friendly deal over a massive long term contract.

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