Jan 31, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; AP Offensive Player of the Year, Dallas Cowboys running backDeMarco Murray
, poses at the 4th annual NFL Honors at Symphony Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Phone Call Heard Around The NFL
In the midst of all the running back controversy, the Eagles traded out of favor quarterback Nick Foles to the Saint Louis Rams for their out of favor quarterback Sam Bradford. As many scratched their heads in confusion, the deal did land a former first round draft choice who had yet to realize his true NFL potential. But would it be enough just to insert him into Chip Kelly’s offense, especially when two wide receivers and one running back who had career seasons were gone?
No. Chip Kelly began this season to build “his” team, and “his” team was just getting started.
As information of Ryan Matthews potential to sign with Philadelphia became public knowledge, another storyline began to gather traction. DeMarco Murray, the hard used and hard fighting running back of the Dallas Cowboys was facing an insulting low ball offer of $5 Million to return to the Cowboys, or significantly more money to consider playing for the Oakland Raiders or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But he didn’t like his options, so a phone call was made between Murray and Chip Kelly.
The Eagles were intrigued to hear that Murray was happy to play for an amount that was within the Eagles budget. Murray was intrigued to hear that he could extend his career by playing for the Eagles in a committee running back situation and rejoin former college teammate Sam Bradford.
And so, the rest is history. In one day the Eagles signed running backs Ryan Matthews and DeMarco Murray. But now the question is, how will they be used?
Running Back DeMarco Murray was not just the best running back on the Dallas Cowboys of 2014, he was personally responsible for over 43% of their offense. That’s on a team with tight end Jason Witten, wide receiver Dez Bryant, and of course quarterback Tony Romo. Murray rushed 392 times for 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns, and caught 57 of 64 passes thrown his way for an additional 416 yards. With 2,261 yards , his willingness to do so much on the offense enabled the Cowboys to ask far less of Tony Romo, who himself benefited from defenses gearing up to stop their surprise running game.
But it was the same workhorse effort that benefited the team that gave him an insulting offer to remain a Cowboy. His offer was on par with players who had just reached a 1,000 yard plateau, not set a franchise record. Murray does not juke, slide, or change directions. He simply hits the hole and breaks tackles, which is more of the favored approach in Kelly’s offense. But with two stars joining two veteran running backs, many wonder if there is even a plan?
Yes, there is.