Oakland Raiders Interested in DeMarco Murray


Jan 11, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) is tackled by Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones (95) in the 2014 NFC Divisional playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Already having the promising Latavius Murray in the backfield and moving on from the veteran trio of Darren McFadden-Kory Sheets-Maurice Jones-Drew, it appears the Oakland Raiders are joining the race for the most coveted running back in the 2015 NFL Free Agency market.

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With the Dallas Cowboys letting DeMarco Murray test the waters after free agency opened this afternoon, it is being reported that league sources have learned that the Raiders are considering bidding for the breakout running back who lifted his team to a division title in the NFC East on the back of nearly 2000 yards rushing in 2014.

Murray put up 1845 yards rushing along with 13 touchdowns on the ground, adding 416 receiving yards to his resume in one of the more dominant single player seasons of 2014. It was also an improvement upon a 2013 where Murray broke 1000 yards for the first time on his rookie deal with Dallas, slowly reaching stardom with the Cowboys after playing for Oklahoma before becoming a third round pick.

According to ProFootballTalk, the Raiders are interested in being the team to give Murray a big payday after his rookie deal, set to enter the bidding for the 27 year old as free agency has officially opened. Fitting a familiar theme the Jaguars are also in the running for Murray, continuing their trend of trying to outbid fellow cap space heavy teams for big money this March.

Adding Murray into the Raiders offense would give the team an instantly supercharged running game from the mediocre unit they had last season that only really got going when the young Latavius Murray started getting more touches. A sixth round draft pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Latavius Murray is expected to be a future star for Oakland, but adding a player who is already one of the top running backs in the league would create a tandem that would allow for the Raiders to pick up first downs far easier than in the 2014 season when they had one of the NFL’s worst rushing attacks.

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There are concerns when it comes to DeMarco Murray, particularly his heavy 2014 workload that the Cowboys put him through to get the team into the playoffs. Murray had over 400 total touches in the regular season, adding more in the playoffs where the Cowboys made it into the NFC Divisional Round in a heartbreaking loss to the Green Bay Packers. Because of that, along with the trend of undervaluing running backs in NFL Free Agency, Murray is expected to have a soft market from contenders if he wants big money. A market that plays into the hands of teams like the Raiders who have the cap space to afford a high priced rental on a short term deal if they wish.

Expect the Jaguars to continue to be a problem in the way of the Raiders landing a big name player. The lack of Florida state tax along with Jacksonville’s willingness to overpay players far over their market value getting them some superstar players while Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie has employed a more conservative approach to the early days of March.

Some may not like the idea of adding a running back like DeMarco Murray, but the fact is that the Raiders need a workhorse to move the ball down the field that they did not have last year. Latavius Murray hasn’t shown he can be a workhorse with his injury problems over his first two seasons, sitting out 2013 before missing time with a concussion. While it is a knock on his mileage, Murray showed that with some help he can guide a team to the postseason largely on his own shoulders. That is something the Raiders need and should be willing to spend on, even if teams around the league are overlooking running backs in 2015.