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Jerry Jones: Will Be A “Challenge” To Retain Both Dez Bryant & DeMarco Murray

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones mentioned on Thursday that it will be a “challenge” to bring back both WR Dez Bryant and RB DeMarco Murray next year, per Brandon George.

There’s no question that some tough decisions lie ahead for the Cowboys as both players are set to be unrestricted free agents in the next few months.

It’s clear that Dallas will not allow Bryant to reach the open market, which means they’ll either have a new long-term agreement in place or he’ll receive their franchise tag.

No matter which route they elect to go with Bryant, it will be hard to pay Murray a market-value contract.

According to OverTheCap.com, the Cowboys are projected to have around $13 million in available cap space before making any roster cuts or restructuring some contracts. There are other free agents like RT Doug Free and DE Anthony Spencer to decide on as well, so that money won’t go far once Dez is taken care of.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media recently reported that the Cowboys have had a four-year contract worth more than $16 million on the table for Murray, but he’s probably better testing the open market than taking that contract.

After all, he led the league in rushing this past season and helped the Cowboys’ offense take a major step forward in 2014

Murray, 26, was extremely impressive this season. He ran for 1,845 yards on 393 carries (4.7 YPC) and scored 13 touchdowns, over the course of 16 games and added another 57 receptions for 416 yards receiving. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 5 running back in the league out of 57 qualifying players.

Bryant, 26, has solidified himself as one of the best receivers in the game today and should be in line for a massive contract extension that will leave him among the highest paid receivers in the game.

This season, Bryant caught 88 passes for 1,320 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns over the course of ten games. Pro Football Focus has Bryant rated as the No. 2 wide receiver in the league.

We have both Bryant and Murray featured in our Top 50 Free Agents list.