The Dallas Cowboys decided on Monday to put the franchise tag on receiver Dez Bryant over running back DeMarco Murray. NFL free agency opens on March 10. Will Murray be back in Big D? We examine his potential suitors and give odds on landing him.
Dallas Cowboys: even money at the NFL odds
Frankly, staying put is probably Murray's best option as long as he isn't bitter over the team choosing Bryant over him. In the modern-day NFL, a star receiver is a bigger priority over a running back. Murray, 26, led the NFL in rushing yards last season with 1,845, which broke Hall Of Famer Emmitt Smith's franchise record. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted that Murray would at least see what was out there but that " I do believe deep down he'd love to stay in Dallas." The Cowboys have perhaps the NFL's best offensive line, so that should be another inducement for Murray to stay. Plus no state income taxes in Texas.
Tennessee Titans: +300
The Titans were just 26th in rushing last season so the need is there even though they chose Bishop Sankey out of Washington in the second round of the 2014 draft. He didn't show much. The Titans probably will be running the ball a lot next season because they will either be starting Zach Mettenberger or a rookie at quarterback.
Indianapolis Colts: +500
This makes all the sense in the world. The Colts' Trent Richardson experiment was a massive failure. He won't be back and likely neither will Ahmad Bradshaw. Would Indy really feel comfortable giving the ball to Boom Herron or Vick Ballard 20 times a game? Add Murray to Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton and you really have something. When I looked at potential landing spots for Adrian Peterson, I had the Colts high on that list as well.
Atlanta Falcons: +800
Atlanta is also in need of a running back after releasing Steven Jackson and with Jacquizz Rodgers a free agent. As I also mentioned in a story about potential landing sports for Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, athletes love the city of Atlanta. And the team is moving into a spectacular new stadium in two years. I'm just not sure if the Falcons can afford Murray because they have so many holes elsewhere to fix, especially on defense under new coach Dan Quinn.
San Diego Chargers: +1000
The Bolts' leading rusher, Ryan Mathews, is an unrestricted free agent. Backup Donald Brown should remain a backup as he has never shown he can carry the load as the featured guy. San Diego might be a bit gun-shy in giving big money to Murray as he had been injury prone prior to last season and the Bolts had to deal with that in Mathews. Also, there's an unusual twist here. Back in December, Murray was called out on Twitter by former college teammate Brennan Clay for cheating on his wife while Clay went to try out for an open spot on the Chargers roster. Clay also sent out some "sexts" that Murray sent Clay's wife.