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Cowboys might regret letting Murray walk to Eagles

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In the end, DeMarco Murray didn't leave the NFC East. Just the Dallas Cowboys.

We learned Thursday that the star running back will sign a five-year deal worth more than $40 million with the Eagles, ending a drama-filled period of uncertainty in the Philadelphia backfield. Murray, 27, becomes the Eagles' primary replacement for LeSean McCoy and now gets to face his old team twice a year for the foreseeable future.

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The end result is hard to believe. The Cowboys not only let the NFL's reigning rushing champion out the door without a fight, they allowed him to sign with a hated division rival.

The exit itself can hardly be considered a surprise. A mess of 100-yard games for Murray in 2014 did nothing to spur contract discussions as it became clear Dez Bryant was Jerry Jones' in-house priority. Murray's workload also offered suspicion: If the Cowboys had longterm plans for their injury-prone back, why did they give him a workload like he was 1988 Eric Dickerson?

In the end, it's just another example of the almost cavalier manner in which NFL teams seem to view the running back position. Over in the AFC East, the Patriots lost star cornerback Darrelle Revis to the division rival Jets, but the circumstances were different. Jets owner Woody Johnson was desperate to bring his prodigal son home and Revis was determined to land the mega-deal that had always eluded him.

The Patriots were dealing with an emotional suitor flush with cash. The Cowboys were not. Chip Kelly is running a clinical operation in Philly (just ask him) and Murray wasn't the coach's first running back choice ... or maybe even second, though the Eagles ended up with Ryan Mathews anyway.

The Cowboys watched the drama unfold like the rest of us, content to let the man who broke Emmitt Smith's single-season rushing record walk away for nothing. It's a gamble by the Cowboys, and one they may live to regret.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down every trade and free-agent signing and discusses the impact of Darrelle Revis' return to the Jets. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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