The lockers have all been emptied and slammed with a final thud. The players that made up the 2014 NFC East Champion Dallas Cowboys have disembarked for the off season…but who will return for 2015?
Back at The Ranch, the Jones’ Boys have held true to their word by addressing the Cowboys coaching staff contracts first. Head coach Jason Garrett has already been the beneficiary of a reported five years/$30 million deal. While the status of many of the assistant coaches remains undecided, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has been retained for three years.
More from The Landry Hat
- 3 ways Cowboys’ Dak Prescott can have a bounce-back season in 2023
- Cowboys News: Dallas sets pre-draft visit with potential Dalton Schultz upgrade
- NFL executives heaping praise on offseason is uncharted territory for Cowboys
- 3 free agent signings from NFC East rivals that left Cowboys fans laughing
- Cowboys News: Brandin Cooks sends flattering message to CeeDee Lamb, Stephon Gilmore
Soon the difficult work of dealing with player personnel will begin and that’s when passersby might see a truckload of headache medication being delivered to Cowboys’ headquarters.
Dallas has a long list of free agents on the roster that got them to the divisional round of the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The most glaring, though, are the two D-words that will have everybody in Cowboys Nation buzzing until their fates are decided: Dez and DeMarco.
Wideout Dez Bryant‘s warning not to test his loyalty back in November is no doubt still resonating in the halls of The Ranch. The star receiver has employed the services of hiring of Jay Z’s Roc Nation to negotiation his new deal.
The hip-hop mogul doesn’t let a little thing like team loyalty stand in his way of getting the most bang for the buck where his clients are concerned. Second baseman Robinson Cano’s exit from the New York Yankees for the higher bidding Seattle Mariners is evidence of that.
On the flip side, the Cowboys’ NFL rushing champion running back DeMarco Murray has been ominously quiet when asked about his future with Dallas. After the Cowboys’ exit from the playoffs last week, Murray told ESPN he wasn’t very concerned with his contract negotiations in Dallas. Instead, he’s decided to concentrate on something more important.
"“I’m not worried about my future,” Murray said. “I just lost a big game, the biggest game of my life. Just not worried about it right now. Just relax with my family and get away from it for a little bit.”"
Signing both superstars to hefty contracts will be a tall order for the Cowboys. Dallas will reportedly have approximately 4.5 million in cap space going forward in 2015. While that sounds like a lot of money for your everyday Joe, it is a proverbial drop in the bucket when it comes to high-profile player contracts.
Detroit Lion wide receiver Calvin Johnson is in the midst of an eight year deal with $53 million in guaranteed money. As for running backs, the Minnesota Vikings inked a deal with Adrian Peterson back in 2011 for a reported $96 million.
In addition to Bryant and Murray, some other players looking for new deals include special teams ace Dwayne Harris, linebackers Bruce Carter and Rolando McClain, as well as defensive ends Anthony Spencer and George Selvie. That is but a scratching of the surface of the 17 some odd free agent spots that the Cowboys will have to consider in the weeks to come.
According to Cowboys’ owner and general manager Jerry Jones, the fact Dallas has so many free agents to sign, and so many holes to fill elsewhere, signing both stars to deals could prove to be near impossible.
"“It’s going to be a challenge,” Jones told ESPNDallas earlier this week. “Is it financially reasonable? No. Is it possible? Yes…But if you just looked at it from dollars and cents, it probably doesn’t look reasonable. You have to figure out how you get there, but at the end of the day you realize it’s going to be costly to have both of those players.”"
One thing is for sure. It promises to be a very eventful off-season at The Ranch.