Demarco Murray is now a Tennessee Titan. The Philadelphia Eagles traded him to the Titans in exchange for a swap of 4th round picks in the 2016 NFL Draft. It is a pure salary dump for the Eagles.
For the Eagles, they can now plan on a 2016 NFL season with Ryan Mathews as the primary back and Darren Sproles as a change of pace back. The trade also increases the likelihood the Eagles will draft a running back in the upcoming draft.
The Eagles had given permission for Demarco Murray and his agent to pursue a trade. Murray immediately targeted the Tennessee Titans, who have been one of the league’s worst running offenses for years.
Titans Offense Could Improve Quickly
Murray spoke of the opportunity available, playing alongside Marcus Mariota. Murray said, “Obviously the team has a young quarterback in Marcus Mariota, and everyone knows what he can do.”
“Plus, coach (Mike Mularkey), and the type of running backs he had in Atlanta when he was there (as offensive coordinator), guys like Michael Turner. I just felt like this was a great opportunity to come here, work hard.”
He continued, “There were a couple of teams that were interested, but I knew right away this was a team I had a lot of interest in. Tennessee was the best opportunity for me, and I plan to work hard.”
Murray Fills a Major Hole
The Titans had spent a couple of high round picks in 2014 and 2015 on running backs: a 20`4 2nd round pick on Bishop Sankey and a 2015 2nd round pick on David Cobb. Sankey proved ineffective, while Cobb was injured throughout his rookie season.
Whatever you think about his talent, Demarco Murray receives across-the-board praise for the serious approach he takes to the game. When he was with the Dallas Cowboys, Murray became good friends with Sean Lee, who had the same “Good Citizen” approach to football and life. Even when both players dealt with injury concerns, the Dallas sports media continued to support both guys, because they could see they were hard workers who had the right attitude.
Demarco Murray should fit into the Tennessee culture. He seems to relish the opportunity to play in a Southern city and away from a major metropolis like Philadelphia.
Demarco Murray Should Fit into Tennessee Community
Speaking of the opportunity to play in Tennessee, Murray said, “Nashville is beautiful, the people are nice. It kind of takes me back to my Oklahoma roots a little bit. So I am very excited it worked out.”
While Nashville is still a major city with its own entertainment industry, when compared to the east coast media centers, it is still has a small town feel. Going from Dallas to Philadelphia is going to be a stark difference. Going from Philadelphia to Nashville should be almost as stark.
Prediction for the 2016 Tennessee Titans:
This gives the Tennessee Titans a key piece to their offense for the next two to three seasons, without giving up draft picks. They drop down from the 2nd pick to the 15th pick in the 4th round, but it’s a small price to pay for a potential elite running back. Now, they can use their picks to address offensive line and defensive concerns.
Of course, they give up a huge salary cap price. With Marcus Mariota still on his rookie contract, the Titans should have less money tied up in their quarterback position than many other teams in the league. With that money, they can afford a premium contract at running back for 2 to 3 years. Thus, the situation is a good one, giving the Titans the chance to pair an elite runner with a young quarterback. If the two can optimize play at the same time, the Titans Offense could be potent.
The outcome of this trade depends on the Titans’ decisions in the NFL Draft. Their offensive line is a huge weakness, but if they can find one elite lineman or two solid ones, their offense could get really good, really quick. Laremy Tunsil is a potential #1 overall pick. His selection would allow the Titans’ current left tackle to move to his natural position at left guard. One pick could solidify the left side of their line, but only if Laremy Tunsil becomes an elite NFL player.
Outlook for the Philadelphia Eagles:
This is addition by subtraction for the Eagles. Demarco Murray was brought in to an offense which was not designed for his talents. It’s possible Doug Pederson could have designed a new offense around him, but it’s easier to trade the ill-fitting part and use the cap space to sculpt the roster in other ways.
The swap of draft picks is minor in-and-of itself, but the Eagles will be able to have the 2nd pick of the 3rd day of the draft. That’s always a good time to analyze the selections overnight and target someone he slid out of the previous days. There are always solid players who slide into the 4th round, so the Eagles should have their pick of one of those players.
The key provision is the ability to unload a huge albatross of a contract. The Eagles want a jump start on purging the roster of Chip Kelly talent. This is a huge step in the right direction.