Kevin’s Point of View
The Philadelphia Eagles have shaken up the running back fold this offseason. The first move came when they traded the franchise’s all-time leading rusher LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso.
Then came the reports that the Eagles had agreed to a contract with former chargers back Ryan Matthews. This left fans thinking the Eagles were out of the race for free agent and ex-Cowboy Demarco Murray who was the NFL’s leading rusher last season.
Surprisingly multiple reports from NFL insiders surfaced that the Eagles and Murray had a strong mutual interest. Once the news broke about Murray flying to Philly to talk to the Eagles the fantasy started to become a reality. Murray signed with the Eagles just hours later.
Murray and Matthews are expected to get a bulk of the carries with Darren Sproles getting some touches as well. Fans seemed to be excited about the Murray signing. Although most were wondering with his new contract being larger overall than McCoy’s contract with the Eagles why trade McCoy in the first place?
A lot of rumors started about Murray being a better fit for Chip Kelly’s system than McCoy. The argument against that is that McCoy finished first and third in rushing in his only two seasons playing under Kelly.
How much more can you expect from Murray who has been plagued by multiple injuries in his career compared to McCoy who has had a relatively healthy career.
The other side of it is that Murray is the type of player Kelly wants on his team. Humble, selfless, hard working guy who does not get caught running sideline to sideline too much. Kelly wants a once-cut uphill runner. He’s got that in Murray.
So all in all the Eagles got a young talented linebacker for McCoy, signed the rushing champ from last year and added depth to running back with the Matthew’s signing. Nobody can argue with the fact that McCoy is a great running back but Kelly wanted to go in a different direction and only time will tell how it works out.
The key to the deal working out is the health of Murray, which as mentioned before has been a problem in the past.
Howard’s Point of View
DeMarco Murray is officially a Philadelphia Eagle. Murray flew to Philadelphia on Thursday and eventually signed a contract for five years worth $42 million dollars and $21 million guaranteed.
With the departure of LeSean McCoy, it was only right that the Eagles replaced that production with another All-Pro running back. Many believe that the Eagles overpaid for Murrays services. 21 million dollars is a lot of money for any running back.
With the Frank Gore backing out of a contract with the Eagles, the running back market continued to grow very thin. The top running backs left on the market, after Gore signed with the Colts, were Murray and Ryan Mathews, both of which the Eagles were targeting and eventually signed.
Mathews was the Eagles first option. He was less expensive and has had two 1000-yard rushing seasons out of his five years in the NFL.
The downside was Mathews’ injury history, which has stopped him from emerging as one of the NFL’s upper echelon running backs. So in order to solidify a true replacement for McCoy, Murray was the best choice. Both sides showed interest and both sides came to an agreement.
This was a great move by Chip Kelly. Murray is the downhill runner that Chip has been longing for. With Murray, the Eagles won’t be able to turn a busted play into positive yardage, as they’ve grown accustomed to with the fast-twitch of McCoy. However they are receiving a strong, punishing runner who, just one year after McCoy, was the league’s leading rusher.
Kelly believes that with his system any running back can be successful. He may have a point. McCoy was constantly going against seven in the box last season.
With an injured offensive line, McCoy still was able to rush for 1,319 yards in what many called a disappointing year for him. If rushing for the third most yards in the NFL is a disappointment, Kelly and the gang must be doing something right. So if the Eagles plug in Murray at that spot, there is no doubt that he will be a successful runner for this ball club.
The Eagles could never replace LeSean McCoy and everything he has done for the organization. However, with a star-studded backfield of Murray, Mathews and Darren Sproles, it looks like those three backs can make up for the production that McCoy took with him to Buffalo. Kelly continues to make moves and it would not be surprising if he has something else up his sleeve.