While the Oakland Raiders have flirted with some high-profile running backs this offseason, they never even bothered trying to keep their own, says new Minnesota Vikings running back Latavius Murray of his former team.
Murray jumped ship from Oakland to Minnesota last week while the Raiders were busy courting the likes of Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch. So far, Oakland has nothing to show for it – only a visit, and a whole bunch of rumors. In the meantime, Murray signed with the Vikings, apparently without ever receiving so much as a contract offer from the Raiders, he tells SiriusXM NFL Radio.
It’s clear that the Raiders are seeking an upgrade at running back, or at least what their front office perceives as an upgrade, but the club is playing a dangerous game.
Peterson and Lynch have been to seven Pro Bowls between them, yet each has his issues. Peterson is going to be 32, appeared in only three games last season due to a torn meniscus and likely comes at a steep price tag. Lynch will be 31, sat out all of last season, struggled with injuries and decline in 2015, plus is still technically the property of the Seattle Seahawks if he comes out of retirement.
Murray is not the most dynamic back, but he’s been serviceable for the Raiders. The 27-year-old appeared in 45 games and made 31 starts in three seasons with Oakland, racking up 2,278 yards rushing with a 4.2 average and 20 touchdowns, and an additional 639 yards through the air.
That kind of production isn’t exactly irreplaceable. Yet, so far, Oakland has been unable to do so. If the season started tomorrow, the Raiders would likely turn to DeAndre Washington, a 2016 fifth-round draft pick, and Jalen Richard, an undrafted second-year player. Both Washington and Richard eclipsed 400 yards as rookies last season.
There’s still time to land Peterson or Lynch, another free agent or a running back in the 2017 NFL Draft. But at the moment, the decision to make no attempt to keep Murray looks a little baffling given the state of the roster right now.