DeMarco Murray Signs 5-Year Contract With Eagles | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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DeMarco Murray Signs 5-Year Contract With Eagles

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    ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 04: DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after running for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second half of their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 4, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    DeMarco Murray got the money he wanted from his former team's biggest rival. The All-Pro running back agreed Thursday to a five-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Murray's deal was valued at $42 million, with $21 million guaranteed, according to a person familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because terms weren't disclosed.

    Wearing a gray suit, white shirt and black tie, Murray arrived at team headquarters with his fiancee, Heidi Mueller, on Thursday afternoon.

    Less than two hours later, the Eagles confirmed they had reached agreement on a three-year contract with former San Diego running back Ryan Mathews.

    The tandem joins Darren Sproles and Chris Polk in a crowded backfield.

    Murray helped the Cowboys win the NFC East title last season while rushing for a franchise-record 1,845 yards. He broke the Dallas record held by NFL career rushing leader Emmitt Smith and also set a league mark with eight straight 100-yard games to start the season.

    NBC 5's Pat Doney tweeted that nine running backs in NFL history, including DeMarco Murray in 2014, had 392+ carries in a season. The other eight backs averaged 830 fewer yards the next season.

    "I saw where he ended up signing and it was a tough decision," Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said from Texas Rangers camp. "It was tough on him over the last 48 hours. Anytime you have a close friend that moves teams, it's never easy, especially when he's going in the division.

    "It's part of playing in the National Football League. Our team, we love him and he's been great for us. He's meant a lot."

    Cowboys star receiver Dez Bryant tweeted: "(at)DeMarcoMurray I wish you would have stayed but I understand your decision... Congrats bro you deserve it -"

    Murray will replace two-time All-Pro LeSean McCoy, the NFL's rushing leader in 2013. Coach Chip Kelly traded McCoy to Buffalo last week in a flurry of stunning moves.

    The Eagles swapped quarterbacks with St. Louis on Tuesday, sending Nick Foles to the Rams for Sam Bradford. They also let Pro Bowl wide receiver Jeremy Maclin sign a free-agent deal with Kansas City.

    The Eagles appeared to replace McCoy with Frank Gore, but he backed out of a deal and signed with Indianapolis. Mathews agreed to his deal Wednesday and came in for a physical on Thursday.
    Murray played with Bradford at Oklahoma. Bradford told reporters at his introductory news conference that he lobbied his former teammate to join him in Philly.

    "I called him. I've texted him. I've done everything," Bradford said. "We've been in communication and I think if we could somehow land DeMarco, it would be a great pickup.

    "Not only is he a great player, but he's a great person. He's a really great friend of mine, too. I really think that he could help this ballclub."

    The 27-year-old Murray turned down a four-year, $16 million offer from the Cowboys last fall and went on to become the AP Offensive Player of the Year. He played 16 games for the first time in 2014 after missing games with injuries in each of his first three years.

    Murray played the final four games last season, including the playoffs, after breaking his left hand in a win at Philadelphia. He tied Seattle's Marshawn Lynch for the NFL lead with 13 touchdowns rushing. Murray has been to the Pro Bowl the last two seasons. He had 1,121 yards rushing and nine TDs in 14 games in 2013.

    Matthews twice rushed for 1,000 yards in five seasons in San Diego. He missed 10 games due to injuries last year and has played 16 games only once in 2013.

    Since taking control of personnel moves away from former general manager Howie Roseman, Kelly has played fantasy football with the Eagles, making several bold moves to reshape the roster to try to add players to fit his scheme and desired culture in the locker room. The Eagles have finished 10-6 in each of Kelly's first two NFL seasons, but missed the playoffs last season after a 9-3 start.

    Kelly got linebacker Kiko Alonso from Buffalo for McCoy, signed free-agent cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond III and released offensive lineman Todd Herremans, cornerback Cary Williams, linebacker Trent Cole and tight end James Casey.

    What Murray can do for the Eagles in 2015 will remain to be seen.

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones released the following statement Thursday evening:

    "We are very grateful to DeMarco Murray for his contributions to the Dallas Cowboys. He is a quality person, a very good football player, and a player that we wanted to keep.

    We have great appreciation for his skills, and if there was no salary cap in place, DeMarco would be a Cowboy. This came down to an allocation of dollars within the management of the salary cap.

    Obviously there is emotion involved in these decisions, but it is critical that there be must be discipline involved as well. If it were a question of having an open checkbook with no salary cap constraints, we all know things would have worked out differently.

    We have recently made significant commitments to top players who are currently on the team, specifically at key positions such as quarterback, left tackle and wide receiver, and we were comfortable with the offer that we made to DeMarco to include him in that structure.

    These are difficult decisions that are part of the NFL. They are decisions that take into account the entire team, the current economic structure of the team, and the financial concerns for the short and long term future of the team.

    At the end of the day, this is about finding the best way to collectively fit all of the individual pieces together, in terms of talent, offensive players, defensive players and dollars—under the salary cap structure—that gives you the best chance to have a championship team."

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