DeMarco Murray, the NFL’s leading rusher in 2014, had a regressive 2015. After having a breakout season with the Dallas Cowboys, Murray decided to follow the money and sign with the Cowboys intra-divisional rival, the Philadelphia Eagles.
The entire situation surrounding the Eagles and Murray was awkward last season. Former Eagle head coach, Chip Kelly, had traded off franchise star, LeSean McCoy earlier in the off-season, money was cited as a reason behind the trade. Kelly and the Eagles decided to pay Murray nearly the same amount of money McCoy was making, an average of $8 million a year. McCoy made only $100,000 more.
The strange moves that led to the marriage made things seem less than ideal. The season would reflect that. He rushed for eight games of 36 yards or fewer, only rushing for over 86 yards one time. The season was in a word, disastrous.
The former 1,800-yard rusher managed only 702 yards. Murray averaged his career low 3.6 average per carry; he had never dipped below 4.0 in his first four seasons.
Tensions grew between the fifth-year running back and the third-year NFL head coach. Today, it’s reported by multiple outlets that Murray isn’t happy in Philly. With a new coaching staff being brought in, that could add to the relationship strain.
However, cutting Murray would cost the organization $13 million in cap penalties, a move the team doesn’t appear willing to do yet. For any move to happen, either a cut or trade, he will have to rework his deal.
The teams that seem to make sense are the Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, and the Oakland Raiders.
The Cowboys, Murray’s former team, seems like a perfect fit. Murray has been rumored to be missing the Lone Star State.
The Seahawks and featured back, Marshawn Lynch, will have an exciting few months ahead of them. If Lynch decides to retire, where does that leave Seattle? They would likely try to add a proven back, despite their happiness with Thomas Rawls. Murray would be able to get paid in Seattle and would go into a favorable situation.
The Raiders are on the hunt for another running back to pair with starter Latavius Murray. The Murray-squared combination could be dangerous and would certainly boost the Raiders chances at winning in the AFC West. However, this situation would require (DeMarco) Murray to give carries up to the other Murray. Would he be willing to do that? He would also be less likely to get paid in Oakland than the prior two stops. That’s a concern.
A few teams that may take a look are the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, and Jacksonville Jaguars. The AFC South is a topsy-turvy division, winning it requires being the best of the worst. However, Andrew Luck should be back to full strength in Indy, that will make them a top contender again. The Jaguars are coming off a much improved 2015 campaign and have a lot of young talent. And the Texans, defending champions of the South, need to find someone to get yards on offense. Arian Foster is under contract for 2016. However, a long list of injuries have hurt his prospects.
Any of the AFC teams I just mentioned will have the money and the carries to give to Murray.
However, I still rate the Seahawks and Cowboys as the two teams that’ll most heavily compete for Murray.
My prediction: Murray is a Seahawk in 2016.