Latavius Murray is young, talented and coming off a solid season in 2016, yet all reports indicate the Raiders running back will be allowed to sign with another team, as soon as Thursday.
With the annual free-agent signing period starting Thursday at 1 p.m., Murray – the team’s No. 1 running back who scored 12 touchdowns and gained 788 yards in 2016 – appears to have worn silver and black for the last time.
According to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Raiders will invest in a different free-agent running back to fill Murray’s slot, or get a ball carrier in the draft to complement last year’s rookie duo of Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.
Tafur reported that head coach Jack Del Rio told the media at the NFL Combine last week that the Raiders like Murray and believe he can help them, as he did last year when the team went 12-4 and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
“I wouldn’t close the door prematurely on anybody,” Del Rio said.
But with the team needing to spend to improve its defense and lock up quarterback Derek Carr and NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack to long-term contracts, a more expensive deal to retain Murray just may not be workable.
The New York Giants have been reported to be interested in Murray.
If Murray hits free agency and doesn’t get the deal he wants, however, the Raiders could then bring him back on a more budget-conscious deal.
Josina Anderson of ESPN has tweeted that a source within the Raiders organization has said, “The door will remain open for a posb return after he (Murray) tests his market.”
At this point, though, Murray, appears headed elsewhere.