Eagles win big in DeMarco Murray trade
Editor’s note: Grades and analysis for this article may be updated as further details of the deal are reported.
The deal: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Philadelphia has agreed to trade RB DeMarco Murray to Tennessee
What it means for the Eagles: The trading of Murray has more off the field implications than on the field ones. It means they are clearly getting rid of the players Chip Kelly brought on the roster last off-season. While the compensation for Murray hasn’t been announced yet, as long as they get something for Murray it helps to not have that distraction since they didn’t want to use him.
Early in the 2015 season, the Eagles tried to make Murray the workhorse back. From Week 5 to 10, Murray was averaging 20 carries per game. Over the last five games of the season he was averaging just under eight. Ryan Mathews earned more carries due to his play. From Week 3 to Week 9 he averaged at least 4 yards per carry in each game he played. For a player who wasn’t going to see much playing time, who had a high cap hit and who could be an off the field distraction; this was an easy move.
What it means for the Titans: The Titans are receiving a very expensive back who will need a complete return to his 2014 form to be worth that kind of money. Uninspiring incumbent Titans running back Antonio Andrews averaged 3.6 yards per carry last year — which was the same amount Murray had with the Eagles. (Murray also went from having the second-best PFF rushing grade in the NFL in 2014 to the second-worst in 2015.) While Murray’s deal is likely to be re-worked, Murray will still be making several times more than what Andrews is. In order to make Murray worth it, he needs to be one of the best backs in the league.
One thing that helped him be exactly that in Dallas was the Cowboys’ offensive line. While the Eagles line struggled in pass protection in 2015, they still had the second-best offensive line in terms of run-blocking — but their scheme was never a good fit for Murray. While the Titans had one of the 10 worst run-blocking lines in the league last season, at least their run scheme will get Murray working downhill more, which is his strength.
When you factor in that the Titans have to give something up to get Murray, you get a very small margin for success in this trade on the Tennessee side. But it’s a little different than if some other teams had dealt for Murray — the Titans have a lot of cap space and not a ton of free agents clamoring to go there. They need to spend their money somehow, and at least if Murray can come close to regaining his 2015 form, they’ll be adding a good player to the roster.