DeMarco Murray, the NFL’s leading rusher in 2014 for the Dallas Cowboys, is jumping ship and joining the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles.
“It was never about the money in any situation,” Murray said. “If it was the money, I could’ve taken that a long time ago on a very high deal. It’s about winning a Super Bowl and being fair.”
Murray is expected to sign a five-year, $42 million deal, including $21 million guaranteed, with the Eagles.
Of the $21 million, $18 million is guaranteed for skill and injury.
The Cowboys were believed to have offered Murray a contract worth approximately $6 million per year on average. Murray told teams this week he was seeking $8-10 million annually with $20-25 million guaranteed, according to someone directly involved with one of Murray’s suitors. Ultimately, the Eagles’ final offer was “considerably ahead of the Cowboys’ on all fronts” — including guaranteed money, average salary and the relative ease of earning incentive clauses.
Assuming Murray’s deal goes through, it won’t affect the future for former San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews, who on Wednesday reached an agreement with the Eagles on a three-year, $11.5 million deal, including $5 million guaranteed. The Eagles announced later Thursday that they have signed Mathews. Earlier in the day, a source had told Schefter that the Murray development shed some doubt on whether Mathews’ agreement would hold up.
Murray flew to Philadelphia in the morning to meet with Eagles officials. In the ensuing hours, the Cowboys began calling around looking for other running backs.
Murray’s call was enough to jump-start tepid interest from the Eagles. Kelly has made it publicly and privately clear the team will be financially prudent in their personnel decisions. Kelly did not go to Oregon’s pro day Thursday, opting to remain in Philadelphia to meet Murray.
Aside from the contract, Murray said the Eagles were the most appealing option because of his belief in their chance to win.
According to a source, during Murray’s discussion with Kelly, he characterized Bradford, who was acquired by the Eagles from the Rams on Tuesday, as one of his best friends. Both operated successfully out of Oklahoma’s spread offense when they were teammates from 2007 through 2009. Murray also played the 2010 season at Oklahoma after Bradford moved on to the NFL.
“Absolutely. I’ve been trying my hardest,” Bradford said Wednesday of trying to recruit Murray. “I’ve called him. I’ve texted him. I’ve done everything. We’ve been in communication. If we can somehow land him, it would be a great pickup. Not only is he a great player, he’s a great person. He’s a really close friend of mine, too. I think he can really help this ballclub.”
Murray just won the rushing title in 2014 for Dallas, running behind one of the best offensive lines in the league. Murray would become the NFL’s first leading rusher to ever start the following season on a different team after moving via free agency.