The Saints are signing Latavius Murray, and that looks like a solid move. He looks pretty similar to Mark Ingram, and he’ll likely be a lot cheaper.
Reports indicate Murray’s deal is worth $14.4 million for four years, and that looks like a solid investment. Ingram isn’t much better and likely will carry a much larger pricetag.
The Saints aren’t looking for a franchise running back. They just want somebody who can lighten Alvin Kamara’s workload, and Murray looks like a nice fit.
Murray might get a lot of the short-yardage touches. He’s been good on those plays in the past. He was successful on only 5 of 10 carries last year when the Vikings needed 1 yard to either score or keep a drive alive. That’s bad. But he went 10-for-10 on such plays a year ago.
Murray isn’t a great pass catcher, but he’s not much different than Ingram in that regard. Murray has caught 79 percent of the passes thrown his way during his career, while Ingram is at 80 percent. Yards per catch: Ingram 7.0; Murray 6.9.
And Murray has shown that he has some ability to function as more of a full-time featured back if necessary. When Dalvin Cook missed most of the 2017 season, the Vikings initially had Murray sharing time with Jerick McKinnon, but Murray played his way into more of a primary role, with McKinnon as more of a third-down guy.
Cook missed five games last year with hamstring injuries, and Murray was again effective filling in.
With Minnesota, Murray played 17 games in more of a starter-type role, and he averaged 66 rushing and 11 receiving yards in those games, with 12 TDs. Over the last two years, only 11 running backs have started at least half of their games and averaged better overall production (that per-game, and using standard fantasy scoring).
It’s early, but on my preliminary board, I would think Kamara will be a top-5 back on my board, with Murray showing up somewhere around No. 20.
|RUNNING BACKS, PER-GAME (last 2 years)|
|Todd Gurley, LAR||29||88||47||135||1.38||22.0|
|Saquon Barkley, NYG||16||82||45||127||.94||18.4|
|Alvin Kamara, N.O.||28||55||52||108||1.11||17.7|
|Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.||25||97||33||130||.72||17.3|
|Kareem Hunt, K.C.||26||81||32||113||.92||16.9|
|Melvin Gordon, LAC||28||71||35||106||.93||16.3|
|Leonard Fournette, Jac.||21||70||23||94||.76||13.9|
|Christian McCaffrey, Car.||32||48||47||95||.6||13.4|
|Mark Ingram, N.O.||28||63||21||84||.68||12.5|
|David Johnson, Ariz.||17||57||30||87||.59||12.3|
|Chris Carson, Sea.||18||76||12||88||.56||12.1|
|Latavius Murray, Min.||17||66||11||78||.71||12.0|
|Tevin Coleman, Atl.||16||57||16||72||.69||11.4|
|Joe Mixon, Cin.||28||64||21||85||.46||11.3|
|Devonta Freeman, Atl.||16||58||21||80||.50||11.0|
|Carlos Hyde, 3 tms||23||58||17||75||.57||10.9|
|C.J. Anderson, Den.-LAR||18||73||13||86||.33||10.7|
|Jordan Howard, Chi.||32||64||8||73||.56||10.6|
|Alex Collins, Balt.||23||55||13||67||.61||10.4|
|Adrian Peterson, Az.-Wa.||22||68||12||80||.36||10.2|
|Marshawn Lynch, Oak.||21||60||11||72||.48||10.0|
|LeSean McCoy, Buff.||30||55||23||78||.37||10.0|
|Lamar Miller, Hou.||31||60||16||76||.39||9.9|
|Kenyan Drake, Mia.||16||33||30||63||.56||9.7|
|Derrick Henry, Ten.||31||57||5||62||.55||9.5|
|Dion Lewis, N.E.-Ten.||27||49||21||70||.41||9.4|