The Dallas Cowboys’ strategy for re-signing DeMarco Murray was simple: let their record breaking running back test the dried up market and watch him crawl back to the Cowboys under their terms.
But a funny thing happened along the way. Frank Gore decided something didn’t feel right about heading to the Philadelphia Eagles and decided instead to sign with the Indianapolis Colts. Then Chip Kelly decided to go all in on Murray. And Dallas’ big plan to bring back their star running back quickly fell apart.
As reported by Adam Schefter via his Twitter account, the Frank Gore snub had an unintended ripple effect on the entire NFC East with Murray joining the Cowboys rivals.
Who knew that one of the single most significant off-season decisions would be Frank Gore changing his mind about going to Philadelphia…
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2015
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, meanwhile, took to the Dallas Cowboys website to wish DeMarco the best. He wrote that Dallas was “very grateful for his contributions,” yet clearly not grateful enough to have aggressively brought Murray back despite publicly stating his desire to return. Jones addressed these points as well, citing the salary cap as the only reason behind their decision.
“Obviously, there is emotion involved in these decisions, but it is critical that there be must be discipline involved as well. If it were a question of having an open checkbook with no salary cap constraints, we all know things would have worked out differently.”
He continued, “At the end of the day, this is about finding the best way to collectively fit all of the individual pieces together, in terms of talent, offensive players, defensive players and dollars — under the salary cap structure — that gives you the best chance to have a championship team.”
Meanwhile, Murray is walking into a now crowded back field in Philadelphia. As reported by Inquistr, Ryan Matthews had decided to sign with the Eagles before Murray was even in the equation. Matthews was supposed to take the place of the aforementioned Frank Gore as the top back for the team.
But apparently Chip Kelly had a plan. In fact, acquiring both Matthews and Murray was on their wish list, according to ESPN. “We obviously lost a tremendous running back in LeSean,” Kelly said Thursday. “So how do you replace that productivity? What’s out there? Obviously, the three best guys, we thought, were Frank (Gore), DeMarco and Ryan. We wanted to target two of them. We ended up with two of them.”
[DeMarco Murray photo credit: Joe Robbins / Getty Images]