Rapid React: Fly Eagles, fly! DeMarco Murray lands in Philly

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Rapid React: Fly Eagles, fly! DeMarco Murray lands in Philly
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In the latest episode of "As the Chip Turns," the unpredictable ball coach pulled one over on one of his biggest rivals.

Reigning rush king and former Dallas Cowboy, DeMarco Murray, is headed to the City of Brotherly Love.

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For Eagles fans, the twists and turns of the NFL free agency period have been gut-wrenching. The nucleus of last year’s offense – LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and Nick Foles – are gone, leading many to believe Kelly is a deranged egomaniac hell-bent on ruining the franchise. Murray’s acquisition, though, is a true feather-in-the-cap, a paramount signing that should ease concern.

Murray was nothing short of spectacular last year. Running behind an elite offensive line, he managed to stay healthy, routinely shed tackles, racked receptions and morphed into a fantasy megastar.  His 19.0 fantasy points per game in standard settings set the pace among RBs. Also ranking favorably in peripheral measurements (No. 7 in elusive rating, No. 4 in breakaway percentage, No. 6 in yards per carry (4.7)), he was a Clydesdale by every definition. In a fast-paced, zone-styled scheme, he should again carry investors. In two seasons with Kelly at the controls, Philly RBs have scored the sixth and 11th-most fantasy points at the position. The Eagles’ O-line also ranked No. 1 in run-blocking last year according to Pro Football Focus.

However, everything may not turn up green for Murray in Philly.

Ryan Mathews, who also signed, is in the picture along with change-of-pace option Darren Sproles and power rusher Chris Polk. Undoubtedly, Murray will be the primary ball carrier, but a sharp decline in carries, receptions and touchdowns is a foregone conclusion. He was highly effective near the goal-line in 2014, crossing the chalk 10 times on 29 attempts inside the 10. Still, as evidenced in McCoy’s lack of touches near the pylons last year, Kelly, the new Mike Shanahan, is a coach fixated on player-specific roles. It’s plausible Polk/Mathews/Sproles wrest away a handful of scores. More worrisome, Murray is coming off a 521-touch campaign. For a player with a history of lower-body setbacks, he’s a major injury liability. Gut says he could go the way of Larry Johnson in 2007. Unless Kelly plans to feature the Wing-T, bank on roughly 15-17 touches per game from Murray this fall. That happens and he's more RB2 than RB1 material. 

Because typical fantasy players chase last year’s stats, Murray, who is going inside the top-five on average in early drafts, will be pursued. But the savvy investor, despite nourshing environment, will minimize risk and spend their cash elsewhere.

Meanwhile in Dallas, this was Jerry Jones’ reaction to the news. The owner’s flirtations with Adrian Peterson may soon turn into a full-fledged relationship. If a deal is reached, All-Day would immediately return to the RB top-five. And that’s likely an understatement. The environment in Big D is ripe. He would surely net 20-25 touches per game operating behind a top-notch offensive line. And don’t worry about his age. For the soon-to-be 30 year-old, the year off benefited him physically.

If Peterson isn’t brought in, Joseph Randle would be the next man up, provided his recent off-the-field incidents don’t lead to an extended vacation. Jones could also explore filling the void via free agency (C.J. Spiller? Stevan Ridley? Mathews?) or the draft. The RB class this season is quite deep. 

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