DeMarco Murray can't be replaced, Jason Garrett says


Speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett acknowledged impending free agents Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray as "cornerstone players" but emphasized "the business of the NFL is real."

The Cowboys are leaning toward applying the franchise tag to Bryant, which leaves Murray's future up in the air.

Garrett demurred when asked if the Cowboys can replace Murray with another free agent.

"I don't like that expression, 'plug another back in there,' " Garrett said, outlining Murray's importance to the Cowboys' offense and the heavy workload shouldered by the Offensive Player of the Year.

While running backs have been devalued over the past half-decade, Garrett stressed that their game-day importance has not been diminished.

"You'll find if you look at it, running backs are important to championship teams," Garrett explained. "The runner does matter."

The Cowboys have acknowledged the challenges of keeping both Bryant and Murray on the roster this offseason.

They also fully understand Murray's importance to their unexpected 2014 success.

The two sides have three weeks to reach an agreement on "business" before Murray tests the market.

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