Jerry Jones acknowledged the Cowboys likely can’t afford to keep both Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray going forward.
Bryant and Murray are set to become free agents and are in line for hefty raises. Jones has said the organization would use the franchise tag on Bryant if the sides aren’t able to reach a long-term deal, while Murray is expected to find a more lucrative deal elsewhere.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Jones said. “Is it financially reasonable? No. Is it possible? Yes. But if you just look at it from the standpoint of dollars and cents it probably doesn’t look reasonable.
“At the end of the day, you do realize it’s going to be costly to have one or the other.”
Bryant is coming off another impressive season, setting a franchise-record with 16 touchdown catches. He also totaled 88 receptions and 1,320 yards, earning his second Pro Bowl trip.
There’s no question Bryant has established himself as an elite receiver in the league, and wants to get compensated as one of the top three. That comes with a starting point of roughly $13 million annually with $30 million guaranteed.
Murray, meanwhile, should be in line to be among the top paid running backs. He led the NFL and set the Cowboys’ single-season rushing record with 1,845 yards, and was named a Pro Bowl captain Thursday.
But the Cowboys have yet to reach a deal with either, although Jones said they’re ready to get back into the negotiation stage. Until Bryant and Murray officially become free agents in March, the Cowboys have exclusive rights to negotiate with them.
“We can talk to them anytime,” Jones said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do on our roster to be trite. So there’s no reason not to start now and not to have been started. We should have a little hay in the barn work-wise already.”