In a move that many saw coming months in advance, the Tennessee Titans made it official on Thursday afternoon. The move, which clears the remaining $6.5 million of Murray's contract off the team's salary cap, ends Murray's tenure as Tennessee's featured running back for two seasons. It also will push Murray into an offseason that is ugly for running backs in his exact situation.
The 30-year-old now finds himself at the mark where we typically see running backs fall off a production cliff and slip into marginal roles and production. We saw signs of it from Murray this past season when he played through numerous lower-body injuries in an effort to keep Derrick Henry from stealing the job in his absence. Across 15 games, Murray averaged just 3.6 yards per carry. That number becomes significantly worse when you take away his longest run of 75 yards, which causes his YPC to drop to 3.19.
From a durability perspective, Murray's body didn't help him be an effective runner and play to his normal capabilities. He suffered a Grade Three MCL tear on Dec. 24 that caused him to miss Week 7 and the team's two playoff games. Before the MCL tear, Murray played through a strained hamstring in multiple weeks this past season.
With age, lower-body injuries and a poor season working against him, Murray enters an offseason loaded at the running back position. From a free agent class with Dion Lewis, Carlos Hyde, Isaiah Crowell and Jerick McKinnon to one of the deepest draft class at running back we've seen in years.
In a best-case scenario for Murray from a fantasy perspective, he will find a team willing to give him a one-year deal and serve a sizable role in a committee to start the season. But even in that scenario, injuries will remain a red flag and that same team could also draft a running back and see him take over the job at some point. Simply put, it seems evident that Murray's days as a worthwhile fantasy running back are over.