The Chip Kelly era has officially ended. The Doug Pederson era is now underway.
On Monday (the first day teams can begin to speak with free agents), Philadelphia Eagles GM Howie Roseman, in conjunction with new head coach Pederson, has moved on from three of the more prominent players brought to the team by former head coach Chip Kelly. Linebacker Kiko Alonso (who the Eagles traded LeSean McCoy for last offseason) and Byron Maxwell (who just completed the first season of a six-year, $63 million deal with Philadelphia) are reportedly on their way to Miami where they will suit up for the Dolphins next season. Running back DeMarco Murray, after signing a five-year $40 million deal last year, is on his way to last season’s worst team in the league, the Tennessee Titans.
It is reported that Philadelphia will receive unspecified draft compensation in each deal, and Murray will restructure his contract to be moved to Tennessee.
Murray and his agent have yet to make official comments on the trade, and likely will not until it becomes official after the new league year begins on Wednesday. The agency that represents Murray, however, did tweet, “A trade & new contract has been orchestrated to make @DeMarcoMurray a member of the Tennessee @Titans,” confirming the deal.
After rushing for a league high 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns with the Dallas Cowboys in 2014, Murray struggled to adjust to Chip Kelly’s East-West offense in 2015. Murray was much more effective in Dallas behind one of the league’s top offensive lines, and a system that allowed Murray to square his pads to the line and run downhill, instead of all the read-options and jet sweeps he ran with the Eagles.
The Titans, and head coach Mike Mularkey, hope to bring Murray back to Pro-Bowl caliber, and Tennessee should give him every opportunity to do so. When Mularkey was the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, from 2008-2011, running back Michael Turner had, by far, the best four years of his career. Turner ran for over 1,000 yards three of those four seasons, and still rushed for 871 in 2009 while missing five games.
When discussing his ideology prior to last season, Mularkey said, “As a position coach, as a coordinator, as a head coach, my philosophy has always been the same: Being a tough, physical football team.”
Even with a poor offensive line (though they do have the No.1 pick in the upcoming draft), Tennessee may be the best place for Murray to resurrect his career. With Mularkey’s offensive system and the dynamic second-year quarterback, Marcus Mariota, Murray has a chance to regain his place as one of the league’s premier ball-carriers.
It will be fun to see how it all plays out next season but for now, let’s hope the rest of the NFL offseason is as thrilling as day one.