Could Eagles cut DeMarco Murray?

AP

The news that Eagles running back DeMarco Murray took to owner Jeffrey Lurie a contention that coach/de facto G.M. Chip Kelly lied to Murray about the offense and his role in it surely has prompted coach/de facto G.M. Chip Kelly to explore his options with the 2014 NFL rushing champ.

Or maybe the options already were explored before the news became news. Unless the ESPN report of the Murray/Lurie charter-flight sit-down was leaked by a disinterested eavesdropper, someone had a reason for getting the story out.

At first blush, common sense would point to Murray, who in theory would leak the story in order to help justify a poor performance in 2015, or to simply take his frustrations with Kelly beyond the organization and to the public. (Indeed, the story from Ed Werder at one point specifically cites “a source close to Murray.”)

But the story cites “sources,” which means it may have initially come from the Eagles, with Werder merely confirming the item through a source close to Murray.

Kelly already has shown that he doesn’t operate a star system, with different treatment given to certain players based on contract value and/or jersey sales. Kelly will get rid of players who don’t buy in, and nothing says “I don’t buy in” more than going over Kelly’s head to the owner of the franchise during the fairly short flight home immediately after the biggest win of the season.

If Kelly is thinking about getting rid of Murray, Kelly and the Eagles need to consider the potential fan and media reaction. Many, for example, still believe that the Eagles leaked vague suspicions of gang ties regarding receiver DeSean Jackson to help justify abruptly cutting him in 2014. If the Eagles are thinking about dumping Murray, the Eagles benefit from leaking their reasoning in advance.

The move would carry financial and salary-cap consequences, which would give the critics more fodder in the absence of solid reasoning for dumping Murray. For starters, the Eagles would take a cap charge of $4 million in 2016, reflecting the balance of his $5 million signing bonus.

More importantly, the Eagles owe Murray a fully-guaranteed base salary of $7 million for 2016. The only way to avoid that payment would be to cut him now, and then to have someone claim his contract on waivers.

That’s where this one gets the most interesting. Would another team step into the shoes of the Murray deal? With $5 million in signing bonus, a $3 million roster bonus, and most of a $1 million base salary for 2015 already paid, does a $7 million commitment for the stretch run in 2015 plus all of 2016 justify the investment?

If no one claims the Murray contract on waivers, he’ll become a free agent — and the Eagles would be entitled to an offset of the $7 million based on whatever he makes next season.

Either way, the biggest downside to cutting Murray comes not from the financial side but from the risk that Murray will show up on the roster of a division rival, like the Giants or the Cowboys. For that reason, the Eagles possibly leaked the story simply to explain in advance a decision to put Murray on ice for the rest of the year, accepting the fact that he’ll be owed up to $7 million in 2016 but avoiding the possibility that cutting him would come back to haunt the team in 2015.

74 responses to “Could Eagles cut DeMarco Murray?

  1. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Went from #1 rusher in the league to bench warming.
    Don’t cry Demarco. This is the path you’ve chosen.
    He’s going to try to comeback to Dallas. Lol
    Anyone remember a Laurent Robinson? Had a great year receiving along side Dez Bryant one year than he got a huge contract in Jacksonville rather than staying in Dallas. He (like Murray) also didn’t do so well without a star on his helmet.
    Players could learn from other players mistakes.

  2. Not going to happen. It would cost too much in space, and he has the potential to be good if the O line play gets better.

    Murray isn’t bad, he is struggling due to the lack of good run blocking, which the Eagles are lacking in. He hasn’t adapted to the fact that, where last season there were holes, now there are only cracks. Murray, Sproles, and Barner are barreling into those cracks headfirst, whereas Murray is stalling, waiting for a spot to open. He needs to just deal with what’s there and hope next season the line play isn’t awful.

  3. In the right offense it would make a lot of sense but if your going to cut your losses then just do it and go on about your business Kelly’s treatment of star players if well documented so why would anyone want to be there. I don’t care if they beat the Patriots 10 times a month the front office doesn’t know what there doing at all.

  4. @ doomsdaydefensetx

    And before there was Robinson, there was one Alvin Harper, who benefited as second banana behind Irvin, got a huge contract from the Bucs, and flamed out.

    I’m a recovering Bucs fan, no fan of the Star, but clearly Murray simply had an outlier year behind an outstanding o-line, and he has regressed back to his mean. Seems like a move back to Dallas would be good for everyone.

  5. If Chip Kelly wants to retain any semblance of integrity to his claim of the importance of “culture” to a team, Murray needs to be cut on the spot. Worrying about a salary cap hit after not worrying about the overall decline in talent level after getting rid of Jackson, McCoy, and Mathis would be an absolute joke.

  6. Anytime an ESPN type mentions one of there”sources” it simply means the hot dog vendor in the upper deck section 6…They are not a credible group of media reporters

  7. I was thinking the same thing about him getting cut. It’s possible, though I somehow doubt they’ll do it before year’s end. Listening to their reasoning, it doesn’t seem like he’s going to be playing much going forward.

    As for whose fault it is, I’d say a bit of both. He’s not the right fit, but he also isn’t playing with full effort, or so it seems. His legs are dead on contact most times. Sproles and Mathews are just more explosive coming out. Murray doesn’t seem that fast. He’s more like a fullback.

  8. Suspected gang ties? He flashes gang signs regularly during games. Oh wait, those are just shout outs to his old Cub Scout troop. He is also confused as to why armed gang members robbed his house more than once and why they are gang related because he’s not gang related and why do they seem to know his security codes and locations of all his security cameras.

  9. bobleblah says:
    Dec 9, 2015 9:28 AM
    I can’t think of one ex-Cowboy that did well on a new team.

    ————————————————————-

    Demarcus Ware?

  10. Actually, that cap hit is not as bad as I thought. $7M is not alot of money in today’s NFL for an established veteran at a skill position, so there is actually a better than average chance that a team starved for backs might claim him on waivers.

    Even if they don’t and he becomes a free agent, I can’t believe he wouldn’t get at least $5M for next year which would leave the Eagles only on the hook for $2M.

    You can’t worry about the money you already paid him. As any good poker player will tell you, once the money is in the pot, it’s in the pot and you should only base your decision on whatever additional money your decision will cost you in the future.

    With all that in consideration, I would cut Murray. Who cares if he winds up back in Dallas. They’re not going anywhere.

    Of course, neither are the Eagles.

  11. @doomsdaydefensetx

    Add Alvin Harper to that list. As for Laurent Robinson, Harper and Murray, I don’t begrudge them at all for taking all the money they could get. Each of them went to a situation knowing what it was going to be like.
    Harper went to Tampa which didn’t have a legit QB, Robinson went to Jax which also didn’t have a legit QB and now Murray goes to a place that runs an offense not conducive to his game. Murray’s best advice is to shut up and be ready to play when/if his number is called.

  12. gscott104 says:
    Dec 9, 2015 9:42 AM
    @ doomsdaydefensetx

    And before there was Robinson, there was one Alvin Harper, who benefited as second banana behind Irvin, got a huge contract from the Bucs, and flamed out.
    ==========================================

    Murray would be good in any number of offenses that don’t consistently play out of the shotgun. That’s upwards of over 25 teams. There’s no doubt Dallas is the team most in need of a good running back out of the group.

  13. You’d think the DaVinci of our time would be able to figure out how to put the reigning rushing champ in a position to succeed.

  14. Another great off-season move by Chip Kelly. Like d-jax we’ll cut this kid because he’s another player Chip cannot get a long with (long list) & we’ll get nothing for him but a cap hit.
    Screwing up the cap, screwing up the team, has trouble getting along with good players, has given us the worst back to back defeats in franchise history. After being here 3 years, still doesn’t have any QB of the future (or present for that matter). After 3 years, still not one playoff win. Why does most of Philly defend this guy?

  15. bobleblah says:
    Dec 9, 2015 9:28 AM
    I can’t think of one ex-Cowboy that did well on a new team.

    ————————————————————-

    Everson Walls won a Super Bowl with the Giants in 1990.

  16. I would welcome him back to the Cowboys, in a nanosecond!!! We know how to use him to his strengths! I hope Kelly cuts him and JJ better have that finger on the waiver wire……lol…I know Tony and Witten would be thrilled to have him back as a teammate 🙂

  17. Please come back to Dallas. McFadden is good but was great in this offense. It was silly on Jerry’s part to let him walk in the first place. I thought maybe franchising Murray for a year made more sense..but with JJ who knows. The Cowboys OLine is solid but without proper line coaching (exit Callahan), they even looked close to 2014s performance.

    I say sign Murray, keep McFadden and Dunbar as the change of pace RB.

    Am I dreaming???

  18. I can’t think of one ex-Cowboy that did well on a new team.
    ————————————————————-
    Demarcus Ware?
    =====
    Good call…but I think Dallas still did the right thing not re-signing him, seeing as how it would have been a $12.5 million cap hit. He’s been good, but I don’t know about $12.5 million good.

  19. I don’t believe every story I read.This one has some holes in it.Demarco will get his 5 carries a game,while the better backs share the rest of the rushing attempts. The season still has 4 games left,he’s not getting cut,he’s not going to be deactivated. He will be used sparingly .

  20. jim699 says:
    Dec 9, 2015 9:51 AM
    bobleblah says:
    Dec 9, 2015 9:28 AM
    I can’t think of one ex-Cowboy that did well on a new team.

    ————————————————————-

    Demarcus Ware?
    =============================
    DWare has done well with the Broncos and I hope he gets a ring this year. No person is more deserving! The split with the Cowboys was an amicable one. When he decides to retire, he will retire as a Cowboy, according to DWare 🙂 He will be a first round HOF’er and my bet lays on JJ being who he picks to present him….DWare also joined a team outside the division, with MANY offers 🙂

  21. Murray a product of dallas line and bill calahan coaching that line and now he is coaching the redskins line.would not do as well with dallas again.Inside runner and philly tries to run him around edge all the time.Thats why he stinks this year.He need s the ball 25 times a game wont happen in philly.Bad fit.welcome to the new york giants .

  22. “Kelly already has shown that he doesn’t operate a star system, with different treatment given to certain players based on contract value and/or jersey sales.”
    _____________

    That simply isn’t true given that he played Murray all season despite him consistently being their least productive back. Clearly, the fact he was their huge free agent signing making gigantic bucks played a part in that. Does anybody seriously believe that if it had been some no-name back making the league minimum that he wouldn’t have been demoted many weeks ago?

  23. He is an A.P TYPE RUNNER.Lets the play develope and then cuts back across grain not a runner around the ends.Philly doesnt want to build a game plan around him .Chip and dip offence not suited for Murray.

  24. I hate the days of blatant disrespect for authority.

    You don’t disrespect your coach. If you think you were lied to about your role in the offense, adjust to it. You’re getting 6 million a year. If you’re one-dimensional then you have to admit you stole from the Philadelphia Eagles. Otherwise, learn the system or just sit the bench and collect the checks.

  25. The Eagles are going to have a hard time attracting free agents with all the players grousing about Kelly every five minutes.

  26. I never understood why Chip got rid of McCoy from a strictly football view. Shady fits his offense perfectly. Murray most definitely doesn’t.

    I feel like the Murray purchase was a bit of a panic buy for Kelly. He was taking heat for trading away a lot of previous seasons’ star power and he probably wasn’t feeling comfortable yet as the person in complete power. So he went out and bought someone with a name to show he was looking out for the Eagles. If he had just stuck with Matthews and Sproles and picked up an average power rusher for a lot less, it probably would have been better for him overall. But public perception and pressure (perceived or otherwise) drove him to go high-priced instead.

  27. 1. Cut him, save nothing, and in fact have to pay more because you will need another player on the roster

    2. Murray can pick the team he wants for a 1 year deal at the Vets minimum, since he’ll still get 7MM no matter what.

    A huge win for Murray, who has the chance to show he can perform away form the strong Dallas OLine. A loss for the Eagles.

    OR

    The Eagles eat some of his pay, and trade him for a 5th round pick.
    This saves the Eagles some cap money and they get something in return.

  28. This makes no sense. If they’re so worried another team would sign him and he would beat them, they would have to actually think he’s good.

  29. A few players in the past have done well after leaving the Cowboys, like Ken Norton, Martellus Bennett and Terrance Newman, but a lot haven’t. WOULD the Cowboys take him back? PROBABLY, and IF things DO go down that way I can hear the screaming from Eagles fans already claiming that it was all some big “PLOT” by JJ to screw them over. Nevermind the simple FACT that they BOUGHT HIM and Kelly HASN’T used him AS a “one cut RB” (which according to what we HEARD was his “reason” for getting rid of McCoy (how’s that workin’ out? Looks like he’s doing pretty well with…the Bills. too bad the Cowboys DIDN’T grab him up!)

    Oh and too the other Cowboys fan up there FORGET McFadden they should keep TURBIN.

  30. bobleblah says:
    Dec 9, 2015 9:28 AM
    I can’t think of one ex-Cowboy that did well on a new team.
    ———————————————-
    Dwayne Harris is killing it for the NYG.

    Near tops in league in PR and KR avg. Can’t understand why you forgot him. He beat your team single-handedly not long ago.

  31. armchairqb says:
    Dec 9, 2015 10:06 AM
    bobleblah says:
    Dec 9, 2015 9:28 AM
    I can’t think of one ex-Cowboy that did well on a new team.

    ————————————————————-

    Everson Walls won a Super Bowl with the Giants in 1990.
    ____________________________

    Terrance Newman still playing well at age 37 and Pacman Jones one of the better slot corners in the league (not to mention his return skills).

  32. I don’t think Lurie will let Chip cut him until Lurie finds out what he is doing with Chip. We just won 1 game and now Murray is the #1 enemy and Chip is fine? If the Eagles finish with effort (playoffs may not be needed) then I could see Chip staying, but if the Eagles play like they did against DET and TB, Chip will be gone and the next coach/gm will decide Murray’s fate.

    Miles Austin gone, Murray benched and Sanchez not playing could possibly go a long way towards the rest of the teams effort.

    Who cares about Murray though, the last 4 games are Chip and Sam auditions.

  33. Chip is having trouble understanding that he needs to treat the pros much differently than the next cycle of college kids. Still like that fact he brings a different approach to the pro game.

  34. Murray has zero leverage. He’s a running back, and they’re a dime a dozen in the NFL. I’d say he’s on the fast track to being either unemployed or a backup on another team very soon. Chip Kelly can’t be happy with Murray, and we know what happens to players when Kelly isn’t happy with them.

  35. Chip should throw the GM that stiffed him with such a whiny disloyal big contract player under the bus….oh, wait

  36. Why would the Eagles cut a great player like that when they are in the playoff hunt. Just because they can’t get anything out of Murray doesn’t mean another team won’t make great use of him. Bench him, but don’t cut him.

  37. I understand there is trouble on the offensive line, however, guys like Sproles, Mathews, and even Barner seem to not have that much of an issue running behind what Chip has in place. There are holes, but Murray is just thinking too much and not hitting the hole when it presents itself. His first step is very slow and I am starting to wonder how he was able to become the rushing champ in 2014 to begin with.

    You can’t just cut him, if anything, get a 4th rounder in the offseason, reduce the cap hit, and move on. I am sure teams like the Texans, Browns, and the Colts would love to take their chances on the former title holder.

  38. Anybody else think of the movie “Clue” as they were reading this article? All the “speculation, supposedly’s, & scenarios” of how everything went down in Philly from Murray to DeSean Jackson.

  39. Let’s see. Craig Morton, Hershel walker Mike Sherarrd, Jimmy Smith, Terrance Newman, ken Norton Jr. Everson walls. Kevin gogan. Martellus bennet. Cris canty. A number of kickers, Dorsett and emmit were both respectable for a time after leaving. Steve beureline. Adam jones. Demarcus ware. Off the top of my head. I’m sure there would be a lot more if I tried.

  40. Murray is a casualty of a terrible GM. He is clearly a skilled player, but one whose strengths are not ideally suited for Chip’s vision of a running back. It’s like Chip signed Larry Czonka and expected him to run like Mercury Morris. Ain’t not gonna work. just as Murray has proven he’s a great back, Chip has also proved he can coach. But as a GM, he’s terrible. I’m sure Mr. Lurie sees he needs to upgrade his GM. The question is whether Chip’s ego can handle it. As far as murray, if Chip is incapable of utilizing Murray’s talents, then that’s a giant waste of money for Lurie to pay him to sit. And if he wants to keep Chip the coach, the Eagles should either work out a trade for Murray or release him.

  41. No question Murray doesn’t fit the Eagles offense but I also believe that he’s on the downside of his career. Last year’s carriers have taken its toll on him and he clearly lost a step. He’s a downhill runner and from the looks of it needs to run downhill (literally) to get any speed.

  42. Philly isn’t going to cut Demarco Murray. They can’t. The cap hit would be way too punitive. Chip Kelly is used to coaching guys that he is only going have for four years max. Demarco was coming off his first season in pro ball where he didn’t miss any games due to injury. He was also coming off a year where he had about 500 touches. Check the record for RBs who had that kind of one season workload. The vast majority FALL OFF THE CLIFF! Murray doesn’t look anything like the guy who was All Pro last year.

    Congrats to Demarco for getting paid. That’s what he is supposed to do. Congrats to Jerry for looking at that contract and saying “That’s too much”. That’s what a good GM is supposed to do.

  43. It’s either Kelly or Murray leaving. I’d stick with talent and get rid of Kelly. He’s proven he can’t coach in the NFL. The Patriots game was a fluke.

  44. Numero Uno:
    The PHI upset of NE was no “fluke”. The NF(E)L has been run by organized crime for a couple decades, now. Think about it: Injury reports, point spreads, a guy with an Italian last name — born and raised in Gambino Estates, Lawn Guyland, New Yawk (see also, Bellmore, NY) — who routinely decides the outcome of games from a ‘command center’ in New Joysey… The Patriots were prohibitive favorites. No matter how many points Vegas threw at the gambling suckers, virtually all the bettors’ money was on NE. The solution? Bizarre officiating ensures TPTB in Nevada walk away with all that money. Learn some math, fer Pete’s sake.

    Numero Dos:
    Murray is unfit for The Chipmunk Kelly Sistim O’ Off-Fence. Put him behind a QB taking snaps from under center — where DeMarco gets a running start ‘downhill’ before taking the handoff — and Murray will be better than just fine. Every DAL aficionado knew this before he chose money over friends and scheme fitness: Murray is not quick, nor particularly fast; but he does have great vision and a good full-speed change of direction. All he (desperately!) needs is a running start, which is simply not The Chipmunk Way…but then again, neither is dominating the ToP and getting your pitifully tired defense off the field…

    …So, Chip’s an idiot of the first order. Hopefully, PHI will retain his services for at least next season.

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