For the Dallas Cowboys, all has gone quiet on the DeMarco Murray front. NFL's recently crowned Offensive Player of the Year is set to enter free agency in the coming weeks and at present no new contract agreement with the Cowboys appears close to being agreed.
The running back was reportedly underwhelmed after the Cowboys tested the water recently with a $4 million-per-year offer, and with just under 500 yards more than any other RB in the league in 2014 he has earned the right to get paid this summer.
Money for Murray
Unfortunately Murray's fellow standout teammate, wide receiver Dez Bryant, is also heading for free agency and as such the Dallas front office is facing the unappealing proposition of saying goodbye to one of them before the 2015 campaign due to financial restrictions.
Recent reports have suggested that, should Jerry Jones opt in favor of paying Bryant, Dallas could make a shock move for Adrian Peterson. Economically there may not be much sense in this move however. The Minnesota Vikings star may be willing to take some sort of pay cut to join his home state franchise but with current earnings of $12.75 million guaranteed in 2015 how big that drop off would be remains in doubt.
On the other hand, with the Cowboys widely regarded as having the best offensive line in the business right now, a more logical solution would be to take a calculated risk on this year's NFL Draft.
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A couple of running backs from the 2014 college season stand out - both Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon have been hyped as future NFL stars.
Going for Gordon
ESPN Dallas' Todd Archer believes Gordon is grabbing the attention of the Cowboys right now:
"Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon looks to be a good fit for what the Cowboys want to do in the running game and with the 27th pick in the draft, they might be in a good spot to get value."
"Peterson won’t come at a discount and the Cowboys would have already passed on keeping Murray because they didn’t want to fork over a lot of cap space to a running back. "
Of course trading in the league's best running back for an untested rookie is a huge risk but it would allow the team to keep Bryant with salary room to spare.
As mentioned above, many feel that the Cowboys' OL is such a force that lesser backs than Murray could still produce impressive numbers.
Time to choose
Even if Dallas turn to a committee to begin the season - pairing Gordon with Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar - Randle in particular proved he has the ability to carry the ball for Dallas with 6.7 average yards per carry in 2014. Moreover the upside for the Heisman trophy runner up Gordon could be worth the transitional period.
The Wisconsin grad racked up 29 touchdowns and 2,587 yards this past campaign (the second most in FBS history) and has recently been compared to Chiefs star Jamaal Charles by former NFL great LaDainian Tomlinson no less.
Murray is, of course, a difficult figure to replace should he not stick with the Cowboys but it could be argued that trying to replace the enigmatic Dez Bryant is a far tougher challenge.
While there are running backs who could find gaps behind the likes of Frederick, Leary and rookie sensation Zach Martin, there aren't many WRs who could go up and grab that 'catch' vs the Packers.
There is likely to be debate over which horse Jerry Jones should back moving forward - Bryant and his questionable temperament or Murray and his penchant for fumbling the football - but should the Cowboys offer to sever ties with the latter then the NFL Draft could hold the key for another productive year of Dallas running the ball.
What do you think Cowboys fans? Is there any hope after Murray, or should Jones break the bank to keep 2014's top running back? Let us know in the comments section below...