Eagles Open to Trading Murray
(973espn.com) — You can file this one in the is-it-really-news section.
NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reports that DeMarco Murray remains unhappy in Philadelphia and the Eagles will listen to trade offers for the high-priced running back.
By all accounts one of Chip Kelly’s biggest mistakes as the leader of the Eagles’ football operations was his overreach at the running back position.
As most of the league has continued to devalue the position from a financial perspective, Kelly replaced LeSean McCoy’s untenable cap number with big-money deals handed out to DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews.
Flipping McCoy, the team’s all-time leading rusher, for Kiko Alonso was a prudent decision by the former coach even though the linebacker badly underachieved in his attempt to return from a torn ACL. However, Kelly essentially replaced the money he was allocating toward Shady, a natural fit for his offense, to a guy who proved to be a square peg (Murray) and an oft-injured caddie (Mathews).
Murray signed a five-year deal worth $40 million before last season and Mathews inked a three-year deal worth $11 million with Kelly claiming their downhill styles were a better fit for what he wanted to do than McCoy.
The results proved anything but and the new regime of Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson would probably like to move on from Murray even more that the ex-rushing leader would like to move on from Philadelphia but the two sides are likely stuck with each other in 2016 due to salary-cap implications.
Murray, 28, still has four years left on his deal, which includes a $7 million base salary for 2016 and $9 million in guarantees. If he's released prior to June 1, the Eagles would incur $13 million in dead money.
Murray, who is currently building a house in the Dallas area and would reportedly like to return there, should serve as a cautionary tale in that the NFL is not a plug-and-play league and moving on from a comfortable situation for the bigger pay stub is not always the prudent decision.
NJ Advance Media, citing a source with knowledge of the Eagles' plans, reports that Pederson will have the final say on Murray in that if the coach thinks he can help his offense, Roseman will stick with him.
"If (Pederson) gets with (Murray), likes him and thinks he can help the offense, he'll be back," the source told NJ.com. "If not, there's a good chance they'll try and trade him."
For what it's worth Pederson seemed to have a much better understanding of Murray's strengths as a player than Kelly ever did when speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this week.
"The first thing I noticed was there were three different (types) of running backs on the roster and you can’t take three different running backs and try to make them one running back," Pederson assessed when asked about the club's RB situation.
"I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. I’m not saying it’s the right way," he continued. "But I just know that the different style of running that I’ll bring utilizes all three. You got a downhill guy (Murray). You got a slasher (Mathews). And you got a great quick guy in (Darren) Sproles who can create mismatches on defense, whether he’s coming out of the backfield or lining up as a receiver. Three different guys, three different styles."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen