WITH ROMO OUT, COWBOYS REALLY MISSING EAGLE DEMARCO MURRAY!

By Peter Gleason

After two games as an Eagle, DeMarco Murray hasn’t exactly run to daylight — there hasn’t been any!

But as pissed off as Eagles fans are at Murray, just think how angry Cowboys fans are now at owner Jerry Jones for letting Murray, last season’s NFL rushing champ, walk to the Birds!

Jones figured the Cowboys couldn’t afford Murray, Dez Bryant and Tony Romo at the same time. They tried to keep two of them.

Now, they have none of them. And they’ve never needed Murray more than they need him now. The best offensive line in the league, smartly constructed and also well-paid — and they have nobody to block for.

It took their worst-case scenario to come true for this to happen.

Romo and Bryant are irreplaceable. Jones didn’t think the same about Murray.

In a way, you can excuse him for that. He had an impossible choice, because their salary cap made it virtually impossible for the Cowboys to keep both Bryant and Murray. Bryant refused to be franchise-tagged and after a lengthy negotiation, ended up signing a five-year, $70 million extension.

Murray, wanting his full worth and seeing plainly what position was most valued by the franchise, was long gone by then, signing a five-year deal with the Eagles for up to $42 million.

Two stars having career years in their contract seasons only seems like fun if you’re not the one paying them.

And Jones’ choice followed conventional NFL wisdom: nobody thinks running backs are irreplaceable these days. They usually can’t wait to replace them, especially when they start wanting to get paid for the pounding they takee.

The running game may be creeping toward extinction and backs are losing value by the day. But now, they’re proving to be like lawyers: everybody hates them and belittles them, until they need one.

The Cowboys need one, because for the next two months, instead of Romo and Bryant, they have Brandon Weeden and Cole Beasley. Of course, losing Romo would have been crushing even with Murray on the roster, but having Murray would have provided at least a little more hope than the stable of backs currently employed by Dallas.

A mediocre backup quarterback’s best friend is a chain-moving, clock-eating, rhythm-building, defense-softening running game. Teams beholden to passing, and to the offensive systems they cherish, tend to forget that. Until it’s too late.

The Cowboys don’t do what they did last year without Murray. They talked themselves into believing they could do it again without having to pay him like the offensive player of the year. Then they doubled down: no heavy-duty free agent, no trade, no high draft pick.

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