In a move that was expected, the Tennessee Titans have cut veteran running back DeMarco Murray. The move not only frees up a little north of $6.5 million in cap space but signals a new direction on offense. DeMarco Murray was the workhorse back in Mike Mularkey‘s “exotic smashmouth offense”. Murray is coming off a career low of 649 yards and tied a career third lowest 6 touchdowns. This is after he posted a 1,287-yard season and nine touchdowns the year before. He turned 30 this year and the Titans feel his $6.5 hit was too much to bear for a back likely at the end of his prime.
Once the Titans signed former Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur to the same position, their offensive scheme became clear. The Titans are likely to utilize a more uptempo system. Third-year running back Derrick Henry will get an increased role and will likely be used the same way Todd Gurley was used last season. Henry isn’t a great pass catcher but neither was Gurley before last season. The Titans are likely to either dumpster dive or draft for depth. Their estimated $54 million in cap space will mostly go towards extending left tackle Taylor Lewan.
As for DeMarco Murray, his future remains murky. His days as a primary back are likely over. His stints in Dallas, Philadelphia, and Tennessee saw him taking a total of 1,604 carries. That’s a lot for a 30-year-old back. It’s likely his role will be as a change of pace back for a contender. There are a lot of contenders that could utilize him on a cheaper contract. It all depends on how much of a pay cut he’s willing to take. DeMarco Murray can still help a team but there are a lot of other backs looking to fill that role.