The New York Giants could use a complementary back for Paul Perkins, the slashing, make people miss player who looks like he will be their primary running back in 2017.
A bigger, power back would seem to be ideal. Despite the fact that has basically thrown himself at the Giants’ feet, that back should not be Adrian Peterson. Eddie Lacy fits the description and has had success in the offense Ben McAdoo runs. Another potential free agent who might have a skill set that could complement Perkins is Latavius Murray of the Oakland Raiders.
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal recently gave Murray to the Giants in a list of “fun” additions to each NFC team. Not sure why the term used was “fun,” but here is Rosenthal’s reasoning:
Murray is an upper-middle-class man's version of Rashad Jennings, the veteran running back the Giants recently released. In Paul Perkins, the Giants have a young runner to groom. Shane Vereen is an asset on passing downs if he stays healthy. Murray is best used in a committee, and he would immediately be the best interior runner on the Giants' roster.
In all honesty, I had not thought about Murray as a fit for the Giants until reading Rosenthal’s piece. So, would this really make sense?
A 2013 sixth-round pick by the Raiders, he spent his rookie season on IR. In three seasons since has has averaged 4.2 yards per carry and gained 1,066 yards in 2015. Last year, he had 788 yards on 195 carries, 4.0 yards per attempt. Murray, 26, is a 6-foot-3, 225-pound back who can also catch, with 91 receptions over three seasons.
SB Nation ranks Murray No. 81 on its list of the top 100 free agents expected to be available.
Spotrac estimates Murray’s market value at $26.9 million over four years, an average of $6.9 million per year. That might be too rich for the Raiders after Murray saw 71 fewer carries and 130 fewer snaps in 2016 than in 2015.
Would, or should, the Giants be willing to go there?
Here is one take on Murray from veteran NFL writer John McMullen:
Latavius Murray isn’t exactly Ezekiel Elliott but more often that not, free agency is about timing and circumstance and the Oakland Raiders running back might be the top option for many when the doors swing open on March 9.
At 27, Murray checks the most important box as a player coming off his first NFL contract who should be hitting the prime of his career. Perhaps more importantly as an RB, the former sixth-round pick out of Central Florida has only carried the football 543 times through his first four NFL seasons, meaning plenty of tread remains on the tires.
The Raiders are on record saying they would like to keep their home-grown starter but a year after putting up his only 1,000-yard season and the franchise’s first since Darren McFadden turned the trick in 2010, the 230-pound Murray lost some playing time to quicker rookie options like Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington last season.
The end game was still 788 yards and perhaps more importantly 12 touchdowns for Murray, highlighting a nose for the end zone that is always regarded as valuable in this league.
The Giants could turn to the draft, or finally give Orleans Darkwa a chance to earn consistent carries. Murray, though, is an intriguing option for many of the reasons McMullen touched upon.
Would you like to see the Giants pursue him if he reaches the free agent market?