In a move that was more a matter of when, not if, the Tennessee Titans announced Thursday that they will release veteran running back DeMarco Murray.
Murray, acquired two years ago in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, paid immediate dividends in his first season in Tennessee, leading the AFC in rushing with 1,287 yards. He also caught 53 passes for 377 yards that season for the Titans.
But Murray’s 2017 season was a disappointment as he battled a number of injuries and rushed for just 659 yards. He battled knee, shoulder and hamstring issues during training camp, but did not miss any games until felled by an ankle injury in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Murray then missed the Titans regular-season finale against Jacksonville, a game in which Tennessee clinched a playoff berth and also missed the club’s two postseason games with the injury.
“I want to thank DeMarco for his contributions as a Titan, not only for what he did on the field but also in the locker room and in the community. He was a pro in every facet and we wish him and his family the best moving forward,” general manager Jon Robinson said.
Murray’s release means that Derrick Henry now becomes the Titans’ lead back for 2018, though Tennessee will look for a running back(s) in the draft and/or free agency to pair with him. Much of the talk this off-season has been around the Titans finding more of a third-down type running back to complement Henry.
Murray’s decline in production, plus his $6.25 million base salary that is wiped from the books became factors in his release. Murray was also due a $250,000 roster bonus near the start of the new league year as well. The Titans also plan to overhaul their offense this season with new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur coming in under new head coach Mike Vrabel, meaning a move away from the power running style that featured Murray the past two seasons.