With many of the top free agents of the 2015 NFL offseason signing new contracts, DeMarco Murray has become the hottest commodity on the market. The Dallas Cowboys are hoping to keep their No.1 running back, but they could have some competition from an NFC East rival.
The Philadelphia Eagles are reportedly interested in signing Murray. The team is set to give former San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Matthews $11.5 million over three years, but according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Philadelphia could still add Murray.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders have more money to spend under the salary cap than any NFL team, and both have made a strong push to sign Murray. FOX Sports’ Peter Schrager says the Murray Sweepstakes could come down to the Eagles and Cowboys, as Jacksonville is looking less and less likely as Murray’s potential landing spot. Oakland remains a viable option, and they might be willing to offer the 27-year-old the most lucrative contract.
Philadelphia has already made a few surprising moves this offseason. After trading LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills, the Eagles let Jeremy Maclin sign with the Kansas City Chiefs and traded Nick Foles and draft picks to the St. Louis Rams for Sam Bradford. While adding Murray would improve their team, Philadelphia doesn’t appear to be in need of another running back.
Matthews missed 10 games with injuries in 2014, but he’s been productive as a No.1 rusher. In 2013, his 1,255 rushing yards ranked seventh in the NFL and just 22 yards behind the league’s No.3 rusher. In 2011, Matthews got his first chance to be a lead running back, totaling 1,091 yards on 4.9 yards per carry. Darren Sproles is also under contract with the Eagles, averaging 5.8 yards per carry, as well as totaling 716 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns last year.
Murray has removed any mention of the Cowboys from his Twitter bio, and there had been rumors that the two sides hadn’t been in contact during free agency. His agent did speak with Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones on Monday, according to ESPN, and Dallas maintains that they want to re-sign the running back. But the Cowboys could be outbid, not wanting to break the bank for Murray after they placed the franchise tag on Dez Bryant.
A comparable offer could be enough to entice Murray to return to Dallas. He had the best season of his career in 2014, leading the NFL with 1,845 rushing yards, and it’d be difficult for him to repeat that success behind another offensive line. The Cowboys give him the best chance to win of any potential suitor, having won 12 games and the division last season. The Eagles are in a state of flux, completely changing the look of their roster this offseason, while the Jaguars and Raiders both won three games in 2014.
Murray is expected to make approximately $8 million per year with his new contract. Shortly after being traded to Buffalo Bills, McCoy signed a deal that will pay him $40 million over five years.