OXNARD, Calif. – DeMarco Murray is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He’s coming off a Pro Bowl season.
But that doesn’t mean the Dallas Cowboys are concerned about working out a contract extension with their starting running back before the season starts.
Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said Sunday that they haven’t had contract talks with Murray’s agent and don’t plan on having any during the season.
"I think we’ll kind of see how his year goes and we’ll go from there," Jones said. "He’s the type of player we want on our team. He’s young and he had a good year last year, but I think he’s betting that he’s going to have a great year, and I hope he does."
Being a featured running back has lost it’s value over the last few years. One back getting 20 carries per game is being replaced by backfields that split carries between multiple players. On top of that, getting Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith signed to new deals is higher on the Cowboys’ list of priorities.
"Running backs have kind’ve evolved in this league," Jones said. "It’s tough for running backs to have a lot of longevity, but there are ones that do. DeMarco’s a leader and he takes good care of himself. I think his best football is ahead of him."
Murray, 26, is scheduled to make $1.4 million in base salary this year. The 2011 third-round pick is coming off his best season, rushing for 1,121 yards, nine touchdowns and averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
Although Murray said last month that he’d hopefully be with the Cowboys beyond this season, he said his contract situation will not be a distraction.
"I’m going to continue to play like I’ve played and come here like I have been," Murray said. "I don’t worry about that, and it really doesn’t matter to me, to be honest with you."
The Cowboys gave Marion Barber a seven-year, $45 million contract in 2008. Barber was the team’s leading rusher from 2007-2009 but rushed for only 374 yards in 2010 and was released by Dallas in 2011.
Jones said that deal has no effect on how they will approach Murray’s future with the club.
"I think things evolve and you make decisions, each one on an individual basis and continue to monitor DeMarco’s situation," Jones said. "He’s the type of player we want on our football team. He’s a winner. I think he’s a competitor. He’s a hell of a football player."