An intriguing veteran running back just became available. According to multiple reports, the New Orleans Saints released Latavius Murray on Tuesday evening. Murray would later confirm the move himself, via Josina Anderson. The Saints are deciding to move forward with Tony Jones Jr. as their RB2, and Murray’s release saves them roughly $2.3 million against the 2021 salary cap.
Much is said about the shelf life of a running back in today’s NFL, but the 31-year-old Murray put together a very solid season in 2020 while serving as a handcuff and change-of-pace back to Alvin Kamara. Murray averaged an impressive 4.5 yards per carry while rushing for 656 yards and four touchdowns. He also proved that he’s still a usable piece in the passing game by catching 23 balls for 176 yards and a touchdown.
Murray now finds himself on the open market but it shouldn’t be long before he finds a new home. Here are three teams that should consider bolstering their running back depth by adding Murray to the fold.
This probably isn’t the first team you expected to see listed here, right? Hear me out. No, the Titans don’t need a starting running back—Derrick Henry is the league’s best pure runner and is in line for another massive season in 2021. Things get dicey behind him, though. General manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel were hoping to see sophomore running back Darrynton Evans seize the RB2 job, but for the second year in a row, Evans is hurt to start the season and will miss at least the first month of the new campaign. Staying healthy has been a problem so far for the former third-round pick.
Evans’ absence leaves veteran journeyman Jeremy McNichols and undrafted free agent Mekhi Sargent as the lone backs behind Henry. Sargent was the team’s standout performer during the preseason, but has a lot to prove before he can be trusted in an official game. McNichols performed poorly during the exhibition and just came off of the Reserve-Covid list in time for Sunday’s opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Titans currently lack a true backup to Henry. They also created a ton of cap space earlier this week by restructuring Julio Jones’ contract. They have the need and cap size to make this move happen. Murray to Tennessee makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons.
The Bills are going to run the ball more this year, right? Right? I’m not so sure they will, but they probably should. Josh Allen threw the ball a whopping 572 times during the regular season and attempted another 120 passes during the playoffs. As a team, the Bills ran the ball on 411 occasions a year ago, and Allen was responsible for 102 of those. It’s safe to say the Bills don’t like running the ball on offense, but maybe that would change if they felt better about the ball-carriers in their backfield.
Many of us expected Buffalo to add a difference-maker at the position this offseason, but they instead decided to run things back with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. Sorry, but adding Matt Breida doesn’t move the needle here.
You know who would improve their rushing attack? Murray would. Make it happen, Brandon Beane.
NEW YORK JETS
I keep waiting for the Jets to add more depth to their running back room. As things stand, they’re entering the season with La’Mical Perine, Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson, and Michael Carter as their running backs. Four is plenty, but quantity doesn’t always equal quality.
Coleman is the lone veteran here, but has really struggled to stay healthy in recent years, and played just eight games a year ago. Perine and Johnson have proven very little in this league, and Carter is an exciting rookie, but a rookie nonetheless. Replacing one of these ball-carriers with Murray would make the Jets’ backfield a lot more threatening than it appears to be now.