The Saints cut Latavius Murray after he refused to reduce a $2.95 million salary that would have become guaranteed, as a practical matter, this weekend. So what’s next for Murray?
Unless he refused to take less as a matter of principle, Murray would have (or at least should have) gauged the market by finding out whether another team would pay him as much or more whatever the Saints offered on a reduced deal. The fact that Murray refused to take less could mean that he’ll end up with more than the Saints offered elsewhere.
Then again, not everyone gauges the market. It’s delicate. It’s technically tampering. But there are ways to find out what is behind Door No. 2 elsewhere before spurning Door No. 1.
Does it suck that teams do this to players, this late in the game? Absolutely. But players can protect themselves. If there’s a term in the out years of a contract that forces a decision early (like a guarantee vesting or a roster bonus becoming due in March), the decision gets made at a time when the player has options. When the player abruptly gets dumped in September, just days before the start of the season, the options are few and far between.
If/when Murray lands quickly elsewhere and gets more than he would have gotten from the Saints on a reduced deal, we’ll know whether he gauged the market before telling the Saints to take their offer and shove it.
Either way, the lesson for every veteran player who is negotiating a contract is simple — insist on a term in the out years of a contract that forces a team to make a decision as early as possible.