Murray trade cost Titans new deal, swap of 4th-round picks
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) New Tennessee general manager Jon Robinson made his first big move in rebuilding the woeful Titans.
And acquiring the NFL's 2014 Offensive Player of the Year DeMarco Murray cost only a new contract for the running back and a simple swap of fourth-round draft picks with Philadelphia.
The Titans confirmed the trade Wednesday and tweeted out a photo of Murray signing his new deal. Murray will be introduced at a news conference Thursday.
Murray's agency announced that the running back would be traded with a new contract Monday night, and what Tennessee had to give up to the Eagles had been unknown.
The Titans will drop only 13 spots to No. 15 with the Eagles taking their pick at No. 2 in the fourth round for what Robinson called a premium running back in the NFL.
''I have admired his running style from afar for a long time,'' Robinson said in a statement. ''We are expecting him to embody all that we want to be about as a team moving forward - tough, dependable and team-first. He will be a workhorse for us and his presence in our offense will help everyone around him.''
Murray was the 2014 NFL rushing leader with 1,845 yards with 13 touchdowns in Dallas.
Then he signed a five-year, $40 million contract with $21 million guaranteed in Philadelphia last March. But he was considered a bust in coach Chip Kelly's offense, rushing for only 702 yards with the Eagles when forced to run out of the shotgun formation instead of deeper in the backfield.
Even with that poor season, Murray still would have led the Titans in rushing. Tennessee hasn't had a running back gain 100 yards or more in a game since Chris Johnson in the 2013 season finale, and the Titans released Johnson in April 2014. The Titans are 5-27 combined since releasing Johnson.
''Welcome (at)DeMarcoMurray to Nashville!,'' Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo wrote on Twitter. ''We building something great here TitanUp.''
The Titans also have agreed to terms with Texans center Ben Jones and veteran quarterback Matt Cassel before adding Miami wide receiver Richard Matthews on Wednesday night, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deals had not been finalized yet.
Jones has started 43 of 64 games for the Texans, and the Houston Chronicle first reported Jones agreed to a four-year deal. A native of Centerville, Alabama, Jones will bring some much-needed experience to an offensive line that allowed a league-worst 54 sacks last season.
An 11-year veteran, Cassel started nine games last season with Buffalo and Dallas, and was 1-7 with the Cowboys. He is expected to compete to back up Marcus Mariota with Zach Mettenberger, who is winless in 10 starts through his first two seasons in Tennessee.
The Tennessean first reported Cassel agreed to terms.
Coach Mike Mularkey has talked about how he wants to run the ball much more this season. The Titans ranked 25th in the NFL last season, averaging 92.8 yards rushing per game.
Murray, 28, is going into his sixth season, and has averaged 4.6 yards per carry in his career while running for 5,228 yards and 34 touchdowns. He also has 215 receptions for 1,522 yards. Adding Murray also brings some much-needed experience to the Titans' offense, which had rookies take 25.8 percent of the snaps last season.
The Titans then gave Mariota another receiving option with a three-year deal first reported by ESPN.com. Tight end Delanie Walker led the team with 1,088 yards receiving last season, and the closest receiver was rookie Dorial Green-Beckham with 549 yards.
Matthews is coming off his best season, catching 43 passes for 662 yards and four touchdowns. He also averaged 15.4 yards per reception. The 6-foot, 217-pound wide receiver out of Nevada has 107 catches for 1,396 yards and eight TDs in his four-year career.
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