Last offseason, DeMarco Murray was a sought after prize. While the mileage that the Dallas Cowboys put on his tires were concerning, Murray was seen as a featured back that could carry the load.
Surprisingly he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. His fit with then-head coach Chip Kelly's system was questioned from the beginning. Kelly's offense was primarily from the shotgun and didn't allow Murray to get down hill, what he was great at with the Cowboys.
The concerns manifested themselves in the season as Murray struggled to find any kind of traction. He only had 193 carries, only ran for 702 yards and only had a 3.6 yards per carry average. He did score 6 touchdowns but even that was considered low given his big contract.
After posting 2 straight seasons of over 1,100 yards rushing, including 1,845 yards two seasons ago, Murray's first year in Philly was considered a let down. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting a lot of factors could lead the Eagles and Murray into a difficult situation:
A coaching change hasn't improved the situation for Eagles running back DeMarco Murray. Even with Chip Kelly being sent packing and the hire of Doug Pederson, the former NFL rushing leader and his team are not in a good place.
In fact, Eagles and Murray appear headed toward a stare-down regarding his future with the organization, according to several sources informed of the situation. The division bogs down to: Murray's unsuccessful 2015 campaign during which he rushed for only 702 yards, the Eagles' lack of conviction that he's the right back and the massive contract Murray signed last offseason.
There are very real questions of, can Murray play and succeed in Philly in 2016? And moving forward, is a sudden turnaround feasible? There are doubts.
The staredown could either lead Murray's people to restructuring his deal or the Eagles cutting him. It is possible, though unlikely, that the Eagles could find a trade partner for the 27 year old lead back.
That is where our beloved Cleveland Browns come into play. With Hue Jackson's power run game in town, as well as Adrian Peterson's favorite RB coach, Wilson Kirby, the Browns could be the perfect landing spot for Murray.
Jackson has already shown that he is a great recruiter when it comes to coaching, so we can assume that trait carries over to players as well. After experiencing success in Dallas then failing in Philly, Murray likely understands how important fit is to his next team. The Browns also have a ton of cap space, though his contract would be much less than the 5 year, $40 million he signed for last year.
The Browns lack an every down back with power. They could look to the draft, a guy like Derrick Henry on the second day would fit, or could go the free agent route. Murray's history is a little concerning given his work load but, in his age 28 season, should have a few very good years left in the tank.
A backfield group of Murray, Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell would fit everything Jackson would want to do. Murray in the Jeremy Hill role, Johnson in the Giovani Bernard role and Crowell able to help in a variety of ways as the third back.
Rapoport does not mention the Browns as a possible suitor for Murray but last year the Eagles weren't really seen as a match either:
It's fair to say Murray has eyes on greener pastures, places where he believes he can be successful and earn the large contract he signed. If he was released, teams like the Seahawks, Cowboys and Raiders (who were interested last offseason) would be interested again. He's currently building a house in Dallas.
Maybe Murray and the Eagles work something out. Maybe someone trades for his big contract. Maybe he decides to go someplace he thinks he can win right away.
But maybe, just maybe (as we saw with Hue coming to Cleveland instead of other teams that wanted him) Murray and the Browns could be a pretty good match.
What do you think about signing DeMarco Murray if the Eagles cut him?