The Dallas Cowboys have DeMarco Murray hitting the free agent market and if the team allows him to leave in free agency, Jerry Jones could look at players in the draft as options, as Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Ameer Abdullah, TJ Yeldon and Duke Johnson are all entering and could be potential targets for Jason Garrett and Tony Romo.
Jones has spoken about the desire to keep Murray, but that will likely come down to money and also could be affected by what happens with Dez Bryant. Todd Archer at ESPN.com writes that if the Cowboys want to keep Murray and Bryant, they have the means to do so. The team can restructure some deals and can make cuts to free up space and that would allow them to retain Murray, but it may not be so easy.
Murray is expected to be targeted by numerous teams on the market and if his price gets too high, the Cowboys could let him go. Murray was healthy for 16 games this season, but he has injury issues in his past and he already is 27 years old. The Cowboys likely can snag a solid running back in one of the middle or later rounds and that could be appealing if Murray becomes too expensive.
According to Cowboys HQ and Dal.Scout.com, the team has a number of options they could look at, including players like Gurley, Gordon and Abdullah. Those three are considered the top backs in the draft, while Yeldon is right there with them in the mix. Gurley dealt with an injury this season and still managed to rush for 911 yards and nine touchdowns and he also is a solid receiver out of the backfield.
Gordon had a fantastic season and could be the first back off the board after Gordon rushed for over 2500 yards and scored 29 touchdowns for Wisconsin. Abdullah is also expected to be a top target, as he had over 1600 yards and scored 19 touchdowns for Nebraska. Johnson is coming off of a season with 242 carries for 1652 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Murray is coming into the offseason after having career year and now he could be a major target for other teams on the market. The contract talks with Bryant could affect how the Cowboys handle the Murray situation. Talks have slowed between Bryant and the Cowboys with some speculating that it could be due to an incriminating video that is reportedly being shopped by Bryant's "ex-friends".
The uncertainty regarding Bryant and his contract could help Murray return to Dallas, as the team may now use the franchise tag over signing the receiver long term. That could leave Jerry Jones with more cap space than expected and could allow the team to bring back Murray on a deal. The Colts, Raiders and Jets could chase Murray on the market, as they all have cap space to spend and a major need at running back.
Murray had a career season in 2014, but some have suggested that his performance could actually hinder him in free agency, including for a possible return to the Cowboys. Andrew Brandt and the MMQB and Todd Archer at ESPN have written about Murray's situation and they write that at his age and after touching the ball over 400 times this past season, he is likely in for some regression.