Cowboys use franchise tag on Dez Bryant

Cowboys use franchise tag on Dez Bryant; league-leading rusher DeMarco Murray likely to hit free-agent market

The Dallas Cowboys made one move on Monday that will affect two of their superstar players as well as the franchise as a whole.

Dallas placed its franchise tag on Dez Bryant, meaning the receiver is most likely to remain with the Cowboys for at least one more season.

Since the Cowboys used the non-exclusive tag, they would have the option of either matching another team's offer sheet to Bryant or receiving two first-round draft picks from that team as compensation.

Otherwise, Bryant will play for the Cowboys next season on a one-year contract worth $12.6 million. Of course, the goal all along for the team has been to get Bryant signed to a long-term deal.

“I can tell you I’m not that excited about the franchise tag with Dez simply because I’d like to have our agreement and our business in place for a long time to come with Dez,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said last month at the NFL scouting combine. “But the franchise is there for a reason, and situations like this are what everyone had in mind.”

While the move buys the Cowboys more time to work out a long-term deal with Bryant, it also signifies that running back DeMarco Murray will probably hit the free-agent market next week.

Team executive vice president Stephen Jones said over the weekend that contract talks with the reigning NFL rushing champ have been slow.

"[Murray] is probably going to, you know, get some peace and see what's out in the market and then we'll talk and see," he said. "I do believe deep down he'd love to stay in Dallas."

He added: "We'd love to keep him in Dallas. Just see how things play out."

Whether the Cowboys can afford to do so in an open market remains to be seen.

Twitter: @chewkiii

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