This week’s combine in Indianapolis provides teams an opportunity to meet with the representatives for their prospective free agents to try to see if they can find common ground before free agency officially begins in March. And according to Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News, Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones plans to do just that with DeMarco Murray‘s agent, Bill Johnson, at some point this week. Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the team is also expected to meet with Dez Bryant‘s reps, after not talking for months, though Jones didn’t sound convinced that a sit-down will happen this week.
As Sabin observes, the fact that Jones is uncertain about meeting with Tom Condon and Bryant’s reps suggests that the team is leaning toward simply using its franchise tag on the star wideout. That’s a notion that Jones certainly didn’t dispute.
“Right now all things being equal, it’s leaning more Dez with the franchise than it is not,” Jones said. “But that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. … We don’t ever want to give up on a long-term deal. It’s something we worked on all of last year and it kind of cooled off once we got into the season. We’ll continue to see what our options are and things happen quickly as you go along. Things can go along with a lot not going on, but all of a sudden it happens.”
For his part, Bryant, who has indicated in the past that he doesn’t love the idea of being tagged, has “all but resigned” himself to that outcome, sources tell Hill. Nonetheless, even though it looks like a safe bet that the Cowboys will eventually use their tag on their receiver rather than their running back, Jones hasn’t dismissed the possibility of franchising Murray.
“I would never rule anything out,” Jones said. “Who knows what tomorrow brings? Things have a sudden way of getting kicked in and you start to get some traction on something. You go down that road and get that done. It’s dominoes.”
The Cowboys will have until March 2 to use their franchise tag, and will have until March 10 to get deals done with Bryant and/or Murray that would keep them off the open market.