Disappointment. Heartbreak. Rage. These are just some of the emotions swirling around Cowboy Nation at the news of DeMarco Murray's defection to their bitter rival the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday. And as much as I want to give into the die-hard Cowboy fan inside me, I know that Murray did what was right for him. Let's face it, these rivalries are much more intense for the fans than they are for the players. In the NFL, these guys see each other twice a year, many of them are friends. That's one reason players often move within the division. The NFL builds up a bloodlust between two teams because it's good for ratings. When in reality, the guys are all hanging out after the game.
The Philadelphia Eagles offered Murray a five-year, $42 million contract with $21 million guaranteed. The Dallas Cowboys offered Murray a four-year, $24 million contract with $12 million guaranteed. You do the math. These guys are more than just commodities in Madden football games. They're people. They're more than statistics and winning percentage. They have families and, naturally, their priorities will always be about what is best for them, not this illusion of loyalty to a team that will not hesitate to cut them the second their production doesn't match their contract. It's a strange double standard that has been imposed by American sports narratives, that a player should have some kind of fealty to the team that drafted them, when really the teams themselves are huge corporations that will continue to rake in cash long after these players are done with their careers. You wouldn't take half the money to stay with your office job simply because they were the first place that hired you, would you?
The average NFL career lasts three years. Three years. With the new collective bargaining agreement, if players are lucky enough to reach the end of their modest (by NFL standards) rookie contracts, they often only have one more real payday waiting for them. The rookie contract typically goes four years, leaving the average player around 25/26 years old. Their next contract would be in the four-five year range, leaving the player just north of 30. Not too many 30-year-olds getting paid top dollar in the NFL unless you happen to be named Manning. Murray saw a chance to take care of himself and his family for life, and he took it. No one can blame him for that.