Yesterday, DeMarco Murray was released by the Tennessee Titans in a move to clear some cap space ready for when free agency arrives next week. If he’d stayed with the Titans going into the 2018 NFL season, DeMarco Murray would have been due $6.25 million in base salary and a $250,000 roster bonus, which adds up to a $6.5 million cap hit that the Titans obviously didn’t want to take.

Whilst going about my usual ponderings during quiet moments, I was wondering whether he’d be a fit with the Cleveland Browns on a 1-year contract seeing as the team is about to lose starting back Isaiah Crowell in the upcoming free agency period.

Murray is 30-years-old and has had a history of injuries throughout his career but it can’t be overlooked that, just as I thought he was only in it for the money for a couple more years, he played very well for the Tennessee Titans in 2016 with his 1,287-yards and 9-TD’s on the ground and 377-yards with 3-TD’s through the air. He then followed that up last year splitting time with former Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry who will now go on to be the starter for the Tennessee Titans.

My ponderings about whether Murray would suit coming to Cleveland to play for the Browns is about whether he could do the same for Saquon Barkley as he has done for Derrick Henry — let him work his way into the league as a starter gradually.

Saquon Barkley

I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m one of the Browns fans who would love to see Saquon Barkley taken with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns and it’s pretty obvious that he’s the complete “three-down back”. I have no doubt that Barkley could be plugged straight in and be the starting RB from day one with the excellent Duke Johnson as the “change-of-pace back” but why do that instead of building him up to being the starter slowly?

Maybe a veteran who can still cut it in the league like Murray would be good for Barkley and the Browns now that they have a better offensive line. Let the veteran go out there and get beaten up this season with Saquon Barkley splitting time with him and learning from him before becoming the starter when the team has some better players in place as the rebuild progresses.

This theory might help DeMarco Murray also as he’d be on a team that would have two other excellent running backs in Barkley and Johnson who would competently share the load.

Do I Like the Idea of DeMarco Murray to the Browns?

Hmm, not really, if I’m being honest, as he’s knocking on a bit now, as far as NFL running backs go, and his history of injuries should be a concern. I think that if they do get Saquon Barkley then they are more than set at the running back position with him, Duke Johnson and the intriguing Matt Dayes who spent his time on special teams last year after a very good showing in the pre-season at running back.

For me, you’d have Barkley as your big back who can do everything, Duke Johnson as your pass-catching/elusive back and Matt Dayes as your “one cut” back. I do think it’s about time Duke Johnson was used a hell of a lot more in the new Browns offence and, hopefully, new OC Todd Haley will see that he’s a great player and deserving of more time, even if Saquon Barkley is on the roster.

Duke Johnson Cleveland Browns

I do think it’s a possibility if Murray is cheap enough as it could save a few beatings from being taken by Barkley if we get him, and a quick look on Wiki will show you some of the things Murray has achieved throughout his career:

NFL records and awards

  • NFL Rookie of the Month (November 2011)
  • NFL Rookie of the Week (Week 7, 2011)
  • NFL AP Rookie of the Year Finalist (2011)
  • NFL rushing yards leader (2014)
  • NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2014)
  • NFL rushing touchdowns leader (2014)
  • 2x NFC Offensive Player of the Month (September and October 2014)
  • 6x FedEx Ground Player of the Week
  • Second most rushing yards in a single game by a rookie in NFL history
  • First player in NFL history to start a season with 8 straight 100 rushing yard games

But, I can’t see it happening as Barkley, Johnson and Dayes could be something pretty special in my mind. Or, if you aren’t sold on giving Matt Dayes a chance to prove himself, how about another running back in a lower round of this years draft seeing as it’s a pretty loaded one at that position? Nick Chubb from Georgia in the 4th round? Or maybe even Bo Scarbrough from Alabama a little lower?

What do you think? Should the Browns bring in a veteran like Murray or should they draft Barkley and consider Duke Johnson as the veteran?

Title image source: Mark Zaleski / AP