Cleveland Browns: Kicking the tires on DeMarco Murray
By Randy Gurzi
After being released by the Tennessee Titans, should the Cleveland Browns kick the tires on former NFL leading rusher DeMarco Murray?
As the new league year approaches, more players are receiving pink slips as teams want to get their financial affairs in order. Often times, the player cut at this point isn’t necessarily a bad player, but one that doesn’t fit at their current salary. That’s true of one guy the Cleveland Browns reportedly are interested in — defensive end Derrick Shelby, and is also true about one they should be interested in — running back DeMarco Murray.
Murray was let go on Thursday by the Tennessee Titans, after two seasons with the club. The former standout at Oklahoma was traded there after playing just one season with the Philadelphia Eagles. That short union wasn’t expected after Murray had agreed to a five-year deal worth $42 million just ahead of the 2015 NFL Season.
That contract came on the heels of him leading the league in rushing for the Dallas Cowboys in 2014, but chasing the contract proved to be less fruitful for Murray’s career stats.
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He has yet to replicate the success he had with the Cowboys, although 2016 was a positive season for him with the Titans. That year Murray had 1,287 yards and nine touchdowns and seemed to have re-found himself as a runner. 2017 wasn’t as good as injuries slowed him down, but Murray was a professional with the team nonetheless.
"“I want to thank DeMarco for his contributions as a Titan, not only for what he did on the field but also in the locker room and in the community,” Titans general manager Jon Robinson said via Cameron Wolfe of ESPN . “He was a pro in every facet, and we wish him and his family the best moving forward.”"
Now free to sign with anyone, the Browns should pick up the phone. Murray may not be the same back who ripped off 1,845 yards in 2014, but he’s one of the more complete backs in the game. He’s got great vision, can carry the ball more than 25 times a game and not wear down and is an excellent blocking back in the passing game.
He may have lost some speed now that he’s over 30, but Murray has always been a guy who wins by wearing defenses down. Also just for some perspective, in Murray’s worst statistical season in the NFL, he still had three times as many rushing touchdowns as Isaiah Crowell did for Cleveland last season.
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Murray won’t generate big money any longer either. That fact could lead the Browns to kicking the tires on a fair deal, and allowing him to compete with whoever they draft in April. There’s no harm in at least kicking the tires on a former All-Pro.