Trader: a person who buys or sells goods, currency or stocks.
Traitor: a person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc.
I really, really just wanted to clarify that. Because after what just went down, some people on Twitter are going to want to absolutely rip their hair out.
The Chip Kelly show continued on Thursday afternoon, as Adam Schefter reported that, after flying into Philadelphia for a visit, all signs are pointing towards free agent running back DeMarco Murray signing with the Eagles. Assuming this deal does go down, Murray will go from the Dallas Cowboys to their biggest rival, which means the “DeMarco is a traitor” tweets will ensue. All along, Murray wanted to return to the Cowboys, but Dallas wasn’t willing to overpay for him, and after leading the league in rushing by far, DeMarco probably felt a little disrespected. After the Eagles brought in Ryan Mathews, it appeared that they weren’t going to go after Murray.
That is, of course, until he personally contacted Chip Kelly.
Now, after visiting the complex with his closest relatives, Murray is expected to join the Eagles. As the most-coveted free agent running back, not to mention last year’s number-one fantasy running back, this is going to be one of the biggest moves of the season for fantasy owners to look at.
The Fit With Philly
I’ve seen so many people say that Murray won’t fit with the Eagles offense.
Newsflash: When you’re one of the best runners in football, you’ll fit in any offense, folks.
Last year in Dallas, Murray played in a power-running offense that featured plenty of inside zone rushes. He ran in between the tackles a ton, and while the Eagles offense is predicated on more shotgun runs that get backs out in space, Murray is still more than capable of excelling in this role. A year ago, Murray ranked 4th in the NFL in breakaway percentage, which are runs that are 15 yards or more, according to Pro Football Focus. There were plenty of times where he got out in space, and in this Eagles offense, you’re going to have to make people miss in the second level. Murray got to the second level quite often last year. In fact, he did so more than any other rusher in the league, recording a whopping 27 rushes of 15 yards or more. He also ranked 7th in the league in terms of elusive rating (48.0), via PFF. Meanwhile, only Marshawn Lynch forced more missed tackles than Murray’s 67.
Oh, and Murray was only a product of the Cowboys elite offensive line? Then why did he have a strong rookie season, where he averaged a career-best 5.5 yards per carry behind a Dallas offensive line that was towards the bottom half of the league? And, speaking of Dallas’ offensive line, if you were planning on avoiding Murray because he’s no longer behind 2014’s best unit, consider this. According to PFF, the Eagles, as a unit, actually ranked as a better run-blocking unit than the Cowboys last year. It was the number-one run-blocking unit in the league, too. They have athletic guys like Jason Peters and Jason Kelce who can get out in space, which will help Murray even more. And, not that a guy who touched the football nearly 500 times last year needs a big boost in volume, but he’ll also be going from a team that ranked 24th in offensive plays per game to the Eagles’ fast-paced offense that averaged 70 plays per game last season, more than anyone else in the league. Murray has operated out of a similar system to this during his time at Oklahoma.
In 2010, the Sooners ran a fast-paced offense, where they led the entire nation in offensive plays per game (87.6). Murray, meanwhile, averaged 4.3 yards per carry, rushed for 1,200 yards and scored 15 touchdowns. He’s familiar with the expected starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, as the two were roommates during their time at Oklahoma. The offensive scheme was similar, too, using some pistol and shotgun runs. Murray, who sees the holes fairly quickly, should be fine in this situation.
The real concern in workload, which wasn’t one at all last year. Murray carried the ball nearly 400 times in 2014, and now with Ryan Mathews signing with Philly, Kelly stated that they don’t exactly want to run Murray into the ground, something Dallas had no problem doing a year ago. Mathews is a very capable runner, and Chip said he likes having two players utilized in a power running attack, while Darren Sproles‘ role is crucial, and he’ll play a ton on passing downs. Because of this, I don’t think I’d consider Murray a top-three running back on draft day, but I wouldn’t argue with you if you regarded him as top-five.
So where will you be drafting DeMarco Murray in 2015?