Earlier in the day, I detailed four potential free agent running backs the Detroit Lions should think about pursuing this offseason. On Thursday evening, a new back became available. The Tennessee Titans announced that veteran running back DeMarco Murray will be released.
Murray, who just turned 30 last month, was set to make $6.5 million this season, but by releasing him, the Titans turn all of that money into cap savings. Tennessee will likely be relying on former second-round pick Derrick Henry to assume the starting role in 2018
So let’s answer the question everyone is asking: Is he a fit for the Detroit Lions?
In terms of his skill-set, the answer is yes. Throughout his career, Henry has proven to be the prototypical all-purpose back that has become so rare in the NFL. He rushes with authority, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, and he’s at least average in pass protection. Just three years ago, Murray was the leading rusher in the NFL by nearly 500 yards.
But the question is whether Murray has hit the dreaded age wall. Last year was his statistical worse season of his career, rushing for just 659 yards and 3.6 yards per carry. Interestingly, that comes just a year after rushing for over 1,200 yards and 4.4 yards per carry with the same Titans team. He’s also dealt with a handful of injuries, but has only missed 13 games in his seven-year career.
If the Lions are looking for a long-term fix in their backfield, Murray won’t be their guy. But if they’re looking for a short-term replacement who can push everyone currently on the roster a little harder, Murray could be a legitimate option. Given his age and down year in 2017, he may be one of the more economical options on the market.
Should the Lions pursue DeMarco Murray?
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