Why the Titans cut DeMarco Murray after just 2 seasons

DeMarco Murray’s tenure with the Titans was short-lived. The team cut him Thursday nearly two years to the day after trading for him.

Why did the Titans cut him?

Murray tied his lowest yards per attempt this season. His 3.6 yards per carry was his lowest since his 2015 season with the Eagles.

Murray’s going to be 30 years old next season, and has never quite gotten back to being the running back that he was during his 2014 All-Pro season. The Titans also save $6.5 million by releasing Murray.

Where will the Titans turn next?

The Titans still have Derrick Henry, who was great in the Wild Card round against the Chiefs with 156 yards and a touchdown. However he wasn’t nearly as good against the Patriots, with just 28 rushing yards.

Henry, 24, was a second-round pick in 2016 and has outperformed Murray in his brief NFL career so far. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry as a rookie and 4.2 yards in 2017 while Murray managed just 3.6 yards per carry.

Henry had a solid season overall splitting carries with Murray, but will see more touches with the roster move Thursday. If the Titans want to add depth into the backfield, they could always look to the draft to place somebody behind Henry. But expect the former Heisman Trophy winner to be the workhorse moving forward.

What’s next for Murray?

Murray’s shown with enough carries and a good offensive line, he can be one of the best running backs in the NFL. But he’ll be 30 next season, and if he hasn’t already, is almost certain to be on the decline from here on out.

Murray was the Titans’ best pass blocking and receiving running back last season. He’s been rehabbing a torn MCL he suffered in Week 16, which could also affect his value as he heads into free agency.

He even said via ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe that he played many games hurt in 2017. “(There were a) handful of games where I didn’t have anything. That’s part of the game. Injuries come and go,” Murray said. “You got to do the best you can to play through them.”

A few seasons ago, Murray was arguably the most dangerous back in the NFL and his numbers in the last four years still stack up better than any.

An offseason of rest, and a new setting, could be what Murray needs to rejuvenate as he enters the final years of his career.

How has Murray’s career gone?

In 99 career games, Murray has 7,174 rushing yards and 49 touchdowns in seven NFL seasons. His best year came in 2014, when he had 392 carries for 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns. He helped the Cowboys to a 12-4 season, only to lose to the Packers in the NFC Divisional Round after the controversial Dez Bryan no-catch.

Murray hasn’t quite matched that production since (which would be unfair to ask of him), but has led the AFC in rushing as recently has 2016 with 1,287 yards.

He’s always been — at worst — a solid running back. When he’s been at his peak, it’s been hard to pick against him. He’ll be trying to prove that he’s still got more 1,000-yard seasons in him somewhere other than Tennessee in 2018.

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