Eagles win big in DeMarco Murray trade

RB DeMarco Murray is going to need to regain his 2014 form for this to be a successful move for Tennessee.

| 8 months ago
(Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

(Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

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.

| Director of Analytics

Nathan has been with Pro Football Focus since 2010. He is the Director of Analytics, an NFL analyst, and a fantasy writer.

  • Binny

    How is this a big win when you don’t even know what the Eagles got in return! He was the rushing champ less then two seasons ago, anything less then a second round pick isn’t a big win

    • gLAdude

      I fully agree. The only thing I can speculate is that Philly traded Maxwell and Alonso to move up to Miami’s #8 spot, and then used Demarco and the #8 pick to move up to #1 to get their QB for 2017-18.

      • RVM3

        U r on crack.

      • Adam Clark

        Yeah… no chance. The pick they get from Kiko and Maxwell is a 3rd rounder at best.

        • gLAdude

          Cmon people… We would be swapping picks in that scenario… Miami trades down to #13 and we get #8. That has already been speculated by legitimate sources. Our 1st round #13 pick is obviously not worth a 3rd round pick lol. What I’m saying is the #8 pick and 2014 rushing camp Demarco for the Titans #1 pick. It’s not that far fetched.

      • wfo3

        GOD I hope not!!! How does Wentz or Goff rate against a Rodgers, Brotles, Bridgewater, Carr or Smith. I believe everyone is enamored with them cause there is no other QBs that are considered franchise Qb’s. Hopefully the Eagles don’t make any moves to get either one of them. Build up around the QB like a better offensive line, a speedy WR, a pass rushing OLB and a starting CB. If Bradford improves his stats this coming year I say keep him for more years and develop a QB that they get in the 3rd or 4th round. This team cannot afford to give away several picks to move up and get a Wentz or Goff only for them to turn out like RG3, Leaf, Locker, Manuel, Sanchez, Lineart, Young, Russell, I could go on with all first rounders that didn’t do anything worth a pick or trade up too get them. A Manning only comes around in a decade or two, Brady was a freak pick and he blossomed into a great QB cause of the coach and system. Build up the defense and get a QB that doesn’t lose the game and you will win the SB, just look at Denver this year. I think Bradford can be this guy, Add to the team with starters and depth and this team will be fine. Manning had some bad games this year but the defense and other parts of the offense won the games. Use this as a boilerplate and the Eagles will raise the trophy.

        • kevin long

          Knowledge!!!!! well said!!!!

      • Chuck

        That’s the only thing you can speculate? Try harder.

    • Athaxto

      Eagles lose a headache and get cap space. It’d been said for weeks that the Eagles would probably be happy with a 7th rounder if someone would take Murray’s contract. Unless its Barry Sanders, RBs are only as good as their OL and scheme allows them to be.

      • Stephen J Brady

        Or A.P.. Or Marshawn Lynch.. Or Todd Gurley..

        • Reallydawg

          Give Barry Sanders someone as good as Okung, Unger, Steve Hutchinson, Matt Birk, Sullivan, Loadholt, etc. during his career and he’d have 30,000 yards.

          • eYeDEF

            Hutch only played during APs first 3 years and Birk only his first 2 years. Loadholt? Please, Lomas Brown was better than Loadholt ever was. AP had to deal with some pretty shitty lines. Same with Lynch. Okung had one good year, otherwise he missed too much time from injury or was too inconsistent to be anything but slightly above replacement level. Unger was the only good lineman that Lynch had in front of him otherwise.

            I’m not saying either was in the class of Barry Sanders, though AP is close. I’m just pointing out that the linemen you cite don’t make the case for Barry running for 30,000 yards behind them. I’m sure if Lynch or AP had those guys at their peak their whole careers they’d run for a lot more yards too.

        • JudoPrince

          Todd Gurley? Too soon

      • truffle19

        That doesn’t take into account the Tennessee side. The D- is without knowing what they’re giving up or even how much they’ll pay Murray.

      • KAO

        I agree about RBs but yeah there are more examples than just Barry Sanders.

      • Daniel Nottingham

        Cap Space? What position does he play? Oh that’s right…..he did so well for the Browns, Jags and other bottom dwellers. How many years did the Raiders sit on 50 mil in cap room? Meanwhile we have a talented defense with stars in their primes going to waste and Roseman plays his stupid game of thumbing his nose at Kelly. Maybe we will get lucky and SF will fire Kelly after this year and we can bring him back to keep the cycle of stupidty going where he and Roseman try to one up each other.

        • asissons

          Who’s saying that the Eagles are just going to sit on the cap space? The point is that trading Murray for just a 7th-round pick isn’t a move that happens in a vacuum, as it allows the Eagles to do something in free agency that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do.

    • KAO

      A 3rd would be a huge win he’s a RB who looked beyond done last year.

  • McGeorge

    Hell yeah the Eagles won on this!

    Right anon76returns?

    • anon76returns

      I always thought Chip would trade for a Burrito from Illegal Pete’s. I think it was Mama Cass that was into ham sandwiches.

      • McGeorge

        Better than a Burrito from Chipotle! 😉

    • crosseyedlemon

      Most people in Philly would rather have a ham sandwich than tickets to a Sixers game.

      • McGeorge

        Tanking 3 years in a row sucks.
        If the season ticket holders knew that was the plan, many would probably have given up their seats 3 years ago.
        And we’ll see how it works out.

        • wfo3

          How is a 10-6 10-6 and 7-9 tanking it. I would call a 3-13 or 4-12 tanking it. Other then McNabb at 2nd pick in 98 and Simon at 6th pick in 00 they have not had a top ten pick since Mamula in 95. That is not tanking it, maybe bad coaching and bad players.

          • McGeorge

            Take a close look at the OP:
            >>Most people in Philly would rather have a ham sandwich than tickets to a Sixers game

            He was talking about the 76ers basket ball team, not the Eagles, so I commented on the 76ers.
            Maybe it wasn’t clear.

            The Eagles have not tanked.

  • Stephen J Brady

    Hopefully they’ll put in some zone-read concepts that get Mariota outside, running the ball for the 1st down side lines and more space for Murray to find the holes. He’s similar to Shaun Alexander in my opinion. In the right scheme, with the right blockers, he can break records based on his endurance and stamina. If he’s asked to make people miss, break tackles in the back-field, etc, he can’t do it. It sucks the best running backs to enter the league often times don’t ever get the team around them in the right window to be as productive as they can. Think if Marshawn played behind the 04′ Seahawks line, or Barry Sanders played behind Emmit Smith’s offensive line. It would probably of been pretty ridiculous statistically. Hopefully the same thing doesn’t happen to Todd Gurley.

    • Stephen J Brady

      I can see them running a Seahawks-style offense and a Steelers-style, zone-blitzing defense once they get the right personnel and gice Dick a chance to coach them up.

    • http://dynastyleaguefootball.com/ #IHSH*SB50AllDay

      Because running zone concepts worked so well for Murray in Philly?

  • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

    Eagles eat all the dead money…

  • Tim Edell

    I see Eagles getting a 5 or 6 in the Murray trade and maybe a 4 in the Maxwell and Alonso trade.

    • SoCalPete

      It might be just a lil better than that but prob not a lot…

  • RVM3

    The trade essentially proves no FA will sign with TEN. Each of Ivory, Martin and Miller are better producers and would come at less salary and no compensation.

  • zinn21 zinn21

    I thought they re-worked Murray’s deal. He’s an upgrade for the Titans. Let’s see the re-worked deal before condemning..