Free agency doesn’t officially begin until March 14th in the NFL, but running back DeMarco Murray is available as of now. The Tennessee Titans have seen enough out of Derrick Henry presumably to make him their feature back going forward. With Murray released, the Titans have opened up another $6.5 million in cap space and a spot in the backfield. Murray will seek to join his fourth team in eight years.
The #Titans have released RB DeMarco Murray. They are going with Derrick Henry as their lead back
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2018
DeMarco Murray Released by Tennessee Titans
Murray saw a sharp decline in his workload last season with 184 carries, down from 293 just a year prior. He didn’t exactly make the most of his opportunities either. The veteran back averaged just 3.6 yards per carry, tying his career low set in 2015 with the Philadelphia Eagles.
It wasn’t long ago that Murray was one of the top backs in the NFL. That’s the way it goes with running backs. They simply have a short shelf life. In 2014, Murray put up 1,845 rush yards and 13 touchdowns behind a dominant Dallas Cowboys offensive line. He was offensive player of the year that season, his fourth year in Dallas.
After a stellar 2014 season, Murray found himself on the open market. The Cowboys weren’t willing to pay the price of keeping him, so he eventually landed in Philadelphia. At that time, Chip Kelly was running things for the Eagles and the experiment failed. The former third-round pick out of Oklahoma managed just 702 rushing yards in his lone season with Philadelphia.
Following a disappointing stint in Philly, the Titans were able to acquire Murray via trade. The two teams swapped fourth-round picks moving the Eagles up from 15th to the second pick in that round. Some doubted his health, but he proved them wrong his first year with the Titans. Murray played all 16 games and ran for 1,287 yards and nine touchdowns.
There was a time when running back talent was relatively scarce in the NFL. However, with the influx of young backs like Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamara, and Dalvin Cook among others, supply is meeting the demand more than previous years. The incoming draft class offers even more backfield solutions going forward.
Now with DeMarco Murray released just weeks after turning 30 years old, he’s experiencing a level of uncertainty that’s very foreign to him. The release doesn’t come as a shock after trade rumors around the deadline last season.
As for the Titans, they aren’t exactly in a position to take a running back early. With holes all over the defense and a need at the guard position, it’s unclear where they’ll acquire Henry’s backup from at this point.