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Pro Bowl running back Latavius Murray shockingly released by New Orleans Saints

Veteran running back Latavius Murray has been among the most-underrated players at his position in the NFL over the past six seasons or so.

Over the course of the past two years with the New Orleans Saints, Murray recorded 1,704 total yards and 11 touchdowns at a clip of roughly five yards per touch as Alvin Kamara’s primary backup.

That’s why it is so surprising that the Saints have reportedly opted to release Murray with just a few days to go before their season opener against the Green Bay Packers.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the decision to release Murray came after he refused a pay cut earlier in the week. The veteran was due a $2.95 million base salary in 2021.

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Latavius Murray now hits the NFL free agent market

new orleans saints running back latavius murray
Nov 8, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray (28) runs the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first quarter of a NFL game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A Pro Bowl performer with the Raiders back in 2015, the 31-year-old Murray is seen as a dual-threat option out of the backfield. Throughout his career, he’s caught 185 passes while hauling in 80.1% of his targets. Last season with the Saints, Murray caught 23-of-26 targets while averaging a robust 4.5 yards per carry.

Obviously, multiple teams will be interested in the veteran back. Immediately, attention turned to the Baltimore Ravens as a real option. Just recently, they lost J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill for the season to injuries.

What are the New Orleans Saints doing?

Dwayne Washington and Tony Jones Jr. will now split time behind Kamara in the Saints’ backfield. It’s a less-than-ideal situation given that Kamara has yet to shoulder the load in the run game during his four-year stint in New Orleans. In fact, he’s averaging 11.2 rush attempts per game during that span.

All of this comes with Jameis Winston slated to replace Drew Brees under center and with star wide receiver Michael Thomas sidelined to injury. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Saints look like when they open their season against Green Bay.

For now, the decision to release Latavius Murray is rather shocking.

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