At this point in the year, just about all major professional sports besides baseball are in a “dead” period. Football is still weeks away from training camps opening up, hockey and basketball have just finished their seasons, and well, I don’t know what happens in any of the other sports.
This past weekend was a big one for NBA fans, however, as free agency opened up and record-high deals were signed. While some had larger dollar amounts, none of these deals impacted the power struggle in the league the way Kevin Durant leaving Oklahoma City for the Golden State Warriors did.
This isn’t a basketball site, so I don’t need to go into any of those details, but this was obviously a huge signing. Golden State gained a top player in the league while Oklahoma City lost the first superstar they had ever known, a player who had a great impact on their community on and off the court.
Predictably, many of their fans reacted poorly to the news. Jerseys were burned, expletives were used, and hate was spewed towards their former “homegrown son,” Kevin Durant.
From the outside looking in we may think these fans are acting like fools, but as Cowboys fans we have certainly been left by a few players through free agency before. I am all for players getting their money, and if the Cowboys aren’t willing to pay it, then you should go find someone who will. That doesn’t mean it is easy to see your favorite players leave the team, however.
Let’s take a little trip down memory lane to remember some of the free agents that decided Dallas was no longer the right home for them.
DeMarco Murray, Running Back, 2015
Just one year ago we saw DeMarco Murray walk away from the Dallas Cowboys to join the hated Philadelphia Eagles, signing a multi-million dollar deal which the Cowboys were not willing to match.
Just about every Cowboys fan knew that Murray was all but gone once the 2014 season ended. He was coming off of a record breaking year in which he rushed for over 1,800 yards and was in the MVP discussion, giving him the leverage to command a boat-load of money.
Even though we knew he’d be gone, it still hurt to see him go to Philadelphia. ANYWHERE but the Eagles, DeMarco.
The Cowboys undoubtedly got the better end of this deal, however, as Murray had a disastrous season in Philadelphia before being traded to Tennessee, and our Cowboys later drafted Ezekiel Elliott.
Only bad things happen when you voluntarily go to Philadelphia, remember that kids.
Emmitt Smith, Running Back, 2003
Emmitt’s situation was a lot different than Murray’s was, but it still hurt to see him go.
The Cowboys released the NFL’s all time rushing leader following their disappointing 2002 season, mostly in an attempt to get younger, but also because they didn’t want to pay the price which Smith was asking.
Smith decided to sign with the “sort of-rival” Arizona Cardinals on a two year deal in 2003. While he didn’t willingly leave the Cowboys like Murray did, it was still hurtful and weird to see him in another uniform.
Like they always say, though, business is business.
Ken Norton Jr., Linebacker, 1994
As we all know, the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers epitomize football royalty in part due to what they did during the early 1990’s. Cowboys then-head coach Jimmy Johnson once said that he felt like they had already won the Super Bowl after beating the 49ers during the 1993 NFC Championship game, and all he had to do was make sure his team stayed focused for Buffalo in order to win the actual Super Bowl.
While we remember those 90’s Cowboys teams largely for their offensive triplets, we should never forget how all-time great their defense was as well.
Linebacker Ken Norton Jr. was the leader of that fearsome defense, but when faced with free agency in 1994, he decided to leave the Cowboys to join the hated 49ers.
Norton won a third straight Super Bowl in 1994, but did so in a 49ers uniform, something many Cowboys fans will never get over.
What was your worst free agency memory?
Whether it was one of these three players or another instance such as DeMarcus Ware joining the Denver Broncos, let us know in the comment section when you were most hurt by a players departure!