Less than two weeks after trading one of the best running backs in football, the Philadelphia Eagles have signed, well, one of the best running backs in football. The Eagles signed DeMarco Murray to a five-year, $42 million deal Thursday, thereby replacing LeSean McCoy, who was shipped to Buffalo for Kiko Alonso earlier this month.
“This really is interesting,” NFL Network analyst Steve Wyche said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “We heard when Shady McCoy was first traded to Buffalo that there were some personality issues with Chip Kelly, that Shady didn’t like those high-intensity Saturday practices and some of the things that Chip Kelly was doing. But look at all the moves that Chip Kelly has made. He let go of Jeremy Maclin. They got rid of Trent Cole. They got rid of Todd Herremans. A year before, DeDean Jackson. They let go of Shady McCoy. Now they’re shopping Evan Mathis.
“So this is the Andy Reid cleanse,” Wyche continued. “It seems like they’re getting rid of a lot of veterans who like doing things a certain way, and Chip Kelly wants people to come in and do it his way. The fact that they let go of Shady McCoy – a back I love, one of the best running backs in the NFL – for DeMarco Murray could, in part, stem from some type of personality clash, but also because he wants more of a north-south runner.
“If you watch what (Kelly) did at Oregon, yeah, he had the change-of-pace scatback – guys like LaMichael James. But he wanted the LeGarrette Blount type. And that, of course is what DeMarco Murray is. And also, by signing DeMarco Murray, he ruins the Dallas Cowboys. So it’s kind of a two-for-one.”
The Eagles also signed Ryan Matthews to a three-year, $11.5 million deal this week.
“Keep in mind they’ve got Chris Polk and Darren Sproles, so one of those guys is going to be the odd man out,” Wyche said. “And the way things are going, would any of us be surprised if Sproles is the one let go with the way they’re letting go of veterans?
“But the one thing is, everyone that Chip Kelly has brought in – and I don’t think can be emphasized enough – has got an injury history. That goes for DeMarco Murray and that goes for Ryan Matthews. So maybe (Kelly is thinking), Let me sign both of these guys because I know one of them is probably going to be on the shelf for a little bit, or we can minimize the risk by splitting carries.”
Either way, Wyche finds it odd that Matthews, 27, agreed to be part of a crowded backfield when he could have been the lead back in Oakland or Jacksonville. After all, Matthews accounted for more than 5,000 total yards and 24 touchdowns (23 rush, one receiving) in five seasons in San Diego. Why wouldn’t he want to remain the alpha dog?
“This tells us something about Ryan Matthews,” Wyche said. “Unless Chip told (him), ‘Even though I’m paying DeMarco Murray more, you’re still going to have an opportunity to win the starting job.’ Maybe that conversation was had. But still, it’s going to be a unique scenario.”