Before kickoff Sunday word came of an impending deal between the Seattle Seahawks and Marshawn Lynch.
According to NFL.com, Lynch could make $10 million in the first year and have a deal with the second highest average per year behind Adrian Peterson.
The first thought among Dallas Cowboys' fans had to have been: What does it mean for DeMarco Murray?
The deal could help Murray’s bargaining power with the Cowboys before the market opens in March. But Lynch has put up four straight seasons with at least 1,200 yards. Murray has one, albeit an historic season with 1,845 yards that led the NFL and set the franchise’s single-season mark.
There is no doubt Murray’s agents will look at Lynch’s deal -- if and when it becomes official -- as a barometer for what their client should receive. The Cowboys can counter with offers to last year’s free agents that topped out at $3.5 million per year.
Perhaps there is a Lynch deal that could play a part in the negotiations. It’s the one he signed in 2012 with the Seahawks that covered four years and at the time was worth $31 million with $18 million guaranteed.
Lynch turned 26 in 2012. Murray will be 27 next week. Lynch had two 1,000-yard seasons to open his career with the Buffalo Bills. He was suspended for three games in 2009 and averaged just 3.8 yards per carry. After four games in 2010, the Bills traded him to Seattle and Beast Mode was born.
After the trade with Buffalo he averaged just 3.5 yards per carry, but his earthquake-inducing run against the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs won over everybody.
In his fifth season, Lynch posted career highs in carries (285) and yards (1,204) in 2011.
Injuries limited Murray in his first three seasons, costing him 11 games, but there is no doubting he was a difference maker when he played. He had his first 1,000-yard season in 2013 and was added to the Pro Bowl.
In his fourth season, Murray posted career highs in carries (392) and yards (1,845) as well as rushing touchdowns (13).
The trends on running backs do not favor Murray. Look at Larry Johnson as an example. After back-to-back 1,700-yard seasons in 2005-06 with the Kansas City Chiefs, including a 416-carry season in 2006, he was given a big contract and he was never the same guy again. On a smaller scale, Marion Barber offers the same cautionary tale for the Cowboys.
But Lynch, a physical runner like Murray, offers hope for the Cowboys going forward with Murray.