Yes, running back DeMarco Murray has been traded by the Eagles to the Titans. Yes, the move comes only days after the Eagles tried to create the impression he’s going nowhere.
“I’d love to have him,” coach Doug Pederson said last week at the press conference announcing the two-year contract signed by Eagles quarterback (and former Murray teammate at Oklahoma) Sam Bradford. The next day, executive V.P. of football operations Howie Roseman claimed that Murray would love to stay.
“My last conversation with him was just that,” Roseman said on PFT Live. “That he wants to be here and this is the place he wants to have a tremendous amount of success like he had in Dallas. I think sometimes we forget a year ago at this time he’s coming off the NFL offensive player of the year. I mean that’s a tremendous honor, tremendous accomplishment to be able to do that and we’re not talking about five, six years ago. We’re talking about one year ago.”
The comments reconfirm the reality that, at this time of year, there’s no reason to believe anything that anyone says publicly. That applies not just to Pederson and Roseman but to everyone connected to any NFL team. Whatever they say at this time of the year is only the truth when it’s coincidental to the broader strategic objectives.
Here, the Eagles’ objective was to find someone who would take Murray’s $7 million fully-guaranteed salary off the books. They’ve accomplished that, and the cap charge for 2014 will be a mere $4 million.
Here’s one more thing to keep in mind. The deal won’t final until the league year opens and both teams provide the proper paperwork to the league. Until then, either can renege. It wouldn’t be wise to do it, but Eagles and Titans technically are allowed to do it.