Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray will head into free agency in three weeks with the same mindset he had carrying the football for a team-record 1,845 yards in 2014.
He’s patient, focused and determined.
Murray wants the respect that big financial pay day will garner.
But his main focus will be on finding a place that gives him the best chance to win a Super Bowl, whether that’s in Dallas or some where else.
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“It’s not about the yards for me,” Murray before a dinner Tuesday at Boardwalk Ferrari, sponsored by Hublot watches. “It’s about winning a Super Bowl. If this place gives me the best chance I’m going to stay here. Winning a Super Bowl means more than anything.”
The Cowboys have exclusive negotiating rights with Murray until March 7 when he can begin talking to other teams. He can’t sign a deal elsewhere until March 10.
Murray, who was the NFL offensive player of the year and named first team All Pro, is coming off the finest individual season in franchise history and certainly the best of his career.
The Cowboys want to bring him back but they have already decided that re-signing receiver Dez Bryant, also an unrestricted free agent, is a bigger priority and hope to work Murray in on a budget.
Murray understands the process but there is no stress. He’s gliding into free agency and is ready to dart through whatever opens up.
“No, not at all. It’s just not (stressful),” Murray said. “I feel like whatever the case may be, if I’m here, think it going be great situation, If it’s going to be somewhere else it’s going to be a great situation Obviously I think they want me here. I want to be here. It’s just finding the … I think, the, you know … just what helps them, what helps me. Things like that. I think both sides want to be here, so I think we’ll see where it goes.”
Murray said he plans to be a big part of the negotiations with Cowboys or anyone else. He has heard the talk of the Cowboys not wanting to pay top dollar. He has heard the talk of diminishing value of the running back.
He understands why people he should maximize his value on the free agent market because this might be his last bite at the apple, as he turns 27 on Thursday.
“I’m very patient so ... if that’s the process I have to go through then that’s the process I have to go through,” Murray said. “I think you hear that a lot. Everyone’s talking about the devaluing a running back and he’s blah blah blah. I’m 26 and I feel like I haven’t even entered my prime yet so … Like I said, wherever I go next year, I think I’m just getting started and I don’t worry about trying to get the most here, trying to get the there. Obviously it has to be the right opportunity, the right team for me and like I said since Day 1 my goal is to simply win a championship.”
But Murray also doesn’t buy the talk that anyone can be successful behind the Cowboys dominant offensive line and wants to be appreciated.
“I mean at the end of the day it’s all about respect and I think different people show their appreciation in different ways,” Murray said. “I don’t need a pat on the back. I don’t need someone telling me how good I am on a constant basis and whatnot like that. I understand my value so to speak and I understand what I bring to the table.”
Murray wants to be in Dallas but he also sounds like a man who is at peace with whatever happens in free agency. He said has great relationships with his Cowboys teammates and that won’t change no matter where he ends up.
“Those are my guys,” Murray said. “Like I said, I made it clear to everyone if I’m not here next year, Romo will be my guy, (Jason Witten) will be my guy, (Dez Bryant) will be my guy. Jason will always be a great (friend). The Joneses will always be great friends. Just great people in my life. There’s no hard feelings.”