Cowboys + DeMarco: Inside The 'Talks'
It's not that the Cowboys' negotiations with DeMarco are going poorly; it's that the Cowboys' negotiations with DeMarco aren't going at all. That doesn't mean there aren't conversations. But there certainly haven't been negotiations.
Some are alarmed by this, and maybe DeMarco himself is moved ... to erase the Cowboys from his Twitter account. It is a childish reaction? It is a business move? If it's the former, it's not alarming because DeMarco Murray is a guy who plays angry, who in some cases "lives angry'' ... and it would not be a shock if his feelings are hurt here. Ah, but if it's a business move?
Good for him. Because that's what Dallas is doing here, exactly as it's been explained to him. ... and even when they talk again today, it will be reiterated.
Said Cowboys COO Stephen Jones a week ago in our exclusive interview: "He's probably going to get some peace (of mind) and see what's out in the market and then we'll talk and see. I do believe deep down he'd love to stay in Dallas. We've had some really good football players go into free agency; Novacek and Woodson and, you know, they still signed with the Cowboys.''
In other words, "shop'' ... and see if you can end up with a "drop'' back to Dallas.
But maybe DeMarco didn't realize the financial drop would be so precipitous.
There are three running backs getting paid so far today. There are, like, 37 other NFL runners not getting paid yet. Murray is among them, his desire to get a Jamaal Charles-like deal ($9 million a year) not coming to fruition.
The Jags (or whomever) can change that in an instant. But $9 mil is never happening in Dallas. I'm told Stephen would like to keep his "parameters'' at $1 mil less than Jerry is willing to go; read that as $6 mil a year being what Stephen might match and $7 mil at what Jerry might match.
But as of hours before the official opening of free agency (3 p.m. Tuesday) there is no need to match ... because there is nothing to match.
None of this is an insult to DeMarco. Nor is it an endorsement of C.J. Spiller or Ridley or Matthews or all the other available guys. In fact, the Tyron Trigger giving the Cowboys $8 mil of cap room today can eventually be looked at as being "earmarked'' money for Murray. As angry as DeMarco might be, his agents (Johnson/Dye) know this. They also have a great relationship with the Joneses.
Oh, and the Cowboys' other relationships with DeMarco might come in handy here, too.
This would be a good time for somebody like coach Jason Garrett to phone DeMarco and remind him of an old Jerry philosophy: "Never let your money get mad.'' The Cowboys can inch off that "4X4'' (four years and $16 mil) deal CowboysHQ.com reported was offered at midseason. They can change some of the guaranteed money to soothe him. They can quit whispering about how the running back dropoff age isn't 30, it's 27 -- Murray's age. And they can continue to be very quiet about the other RBs they like. (The Ingram thing was a fact; the rest of the stuff is mostly media creation.)
They can also, cleverly, reap the benefits of having announced the "shop-and-drop'': If you are Jacksonville, and you already know your moderate offer is going to be shopped back to Dallas ... should you even bother making an offer?
Most of all, what's happening here is Dallas is sticking with the plan and the policy, a plan and a policy that has been explained very clear to DeMarco. Find those "brackets'' by searching for an offer. If you get that Jamaal-type deal, you can plan on changing your avatar for a third time and the Cowboys will never look back. If you get no such offer, you can plan on changing your avatar back to the Cowboys-friendly one.
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