Free agency can be multiple-choice test

Chris Humphreys/USA Today

Two of Denver's top receiving threats, Julius Thomas (80) and Demaryius Thomas, are free agents. With NFL free agency beginning March 10, ESPN Stats & Information will examine some of the biggest issues surrounding the 2015 free-agent class.

Tough decisions this offseason: Some teams have several key contributors hitting the free-agent market this offseason and insufficient cap space to sign them all. Given a choice between multiple players, which one do you take?

COWBOYS: RB DeMarco Murray or WR Dez Bryant?

DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant accounted for more than 56 percent of the Dallas Cowboys’ yards from scrimmage last season, second-highest among teammates in the NFL.

The case for Murray:

of team’s yards from scrimmage,
teammates in 2014

• He will be 27 at the start of the 2015 season.

• He led the NFL in rushing (1,845 yards, a franchise record) and yards from scrimmage (2,261 yards) in 2014. His yards from scrimmage were 36 percent of the team’s total, highest in the NFL last season.

• The Cowboys ran on an NFL-high 48 percent of their plays in 2014.

The case for Bryant:

• He will turn 27 during the 2015 season.

• He led the NFL and set the Cowboys’ franchise record with 16 receiving touchdowns in 2014.

• He has gained 1,000 or more yards and scored 10 or more touchdowns in three successive seasons.

• He caught 68 percent of his targets from quarterback Tony Romo in 2014.

Buyer beware

One risk of investing in Murray is his workload in 2014. Murray’s season was the 42nd instance in NFL history of a player having at least 400 touches (rushes and receptions) in a season.

In the previous 41 instances, the players in the season after their 400-touch campaigns averaged 106 fewer touches and 590 fewer yards, and more than half of the players (25) averaged fewer yards per touch.

BRONCOS: WR Demaryius Thomas or TE Julius Thomas?

The case for Demaryius Thomas:

• He will turn 28 during the 2015 season.

• Over the past three seasons, he ranks third in the NFL in receptions (297), second in receiving yards (4,483) and second in receiving touchdowns (35).

• He has had 90 or more receptions, 1,400 or more yards and 10 or more touchdowns in each of the past three seasons.

• He leads the NFL with 1,874 yards after the catch over the past three seasons.

The case for Julius Thomas:

• He will be 27 at the start of the 2015 season.

• He scored 12 touchdowns in the 13 games he played last season (tied for the most touchdowns among tight ends).

• His 24 receiving touchdowns the past two seasons are the fourth-most in the NFL in that time -- second among tight ends.

• He caught 87 percent of red zone targets last season.

Buyer beware

Demaryius Thomas career

With quarterback Peyton Manning’s status for the 2015 season still in question, can either of the Thomases produce at the same level without him?

Although a small sample, Julius Thomas has caught two of nine passes (22.2 percent) thrown by quarterbacks other than Manning in his career (73.8 percent from Manning). Demaryius Thomas has more than doubled his production from 2010-11, when he was without Manning.

PACKERS: WR Randall Cobb, OT Bryan Bulaga or CB Tramon Williams?

The case for Randall Cobb:

• He has caught 75 percent of his targets from Aaron Rodgers in his career.

• He led the NFL in receptions (75), receiving yards (1,067) and receiving touchdowns (12) from the slot last season.

The case for Bryan Bulaga:

• The Green Bay Packers allowed pressure on 20 percent of their dropbacks with Bulaga on the field the past five seasons (24 percent with him off the field).

• Rodgers has suffered a broken collarbone and calf injuries the past two seasons.

The case for Tramon Williams:

• He has 28 career interceptions, the sixth-most since 2007.

• He has missed one game in his career.

Buyer beware

Cobb might be the biggest name, but the Packers might want to support Rodgers in other ways.

The Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010. That season, they ranked second in points per game allowed, their highest rank of the Rodgers era. Rodgers was pressured on 19 percent of his dropbacks that season, the lowest percentage of his career.