By Mike Fisher | 105.3 The Fan

OXNARD (105.3 THE FAN) — Jerry Jones’ Cowboys generally don’t lose players they want to keep over money. But Stephen Jones has long pushed his father toward fiscal responsibility, a view reflected in Stephen’s cool response to the idea of extending DeMarco Murray during the season: “I don’t think so,” Stephen said.

The Cowboys have a contract extension pecking order topped by Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith (of whom sources tell me there is presently “zero” progress on this front.)

The regular-season pecking order does not include DeMarco Murray.

“I don’t think so,” Stephen said. “I think we’ll see kind of how his year goes, and we’ll go from there. He’s the type of player we want on our team. He’s young and he had a good year last year, but I think he’s betting that he’s going to have a great year, too, and I hope he does.”

That’s not an expression of dissatisfaction with Murray, who last year gave Dallas a 1,121-yard, nine-touchdown campaign good enough for his first trip to the Pro Bowl. And it might not be an expression of concern over fragility, though Murray missed three games as a rookie, six in 2012 and two last year.

No, this is about the changing landscape of offenses, the shadow of the salary cap and the recognition that even the finest running backs can break down prematurely.

“That’s kind of evolved in this league, and it’s tough for running backs to have a lot of longevity,” Jones said. “But there are ones that do, and DeMarco is a leader, he takes good care of himself and I think his best football is ahead of him.”

Murray is playing on the last year of his rookie contract and making about $500,000 in base salary. A fiscally responsible thing to do would be to avoid paying him five times that — which would’ve been justifiable a few years ago — and instead supplant him with young, affordable kids like Lance Dunbar, Joseph Randle and Ryan Williams, all of whom are behind Murray on the depth chart.

And then when there time comes and their contract is up, as cool or even as ruthless as it sounds .. you don’t pay them, either.

“We’ll continue to monitor DeMarco’s situation,” Jones said. “I think he’s a winner, I think he’s a competitor, I think he’s a hell of a football player.”

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