Seahawks’ reported interest in DeMarco Murray makes sense, but a deal wouldn’t

Feb 4, 2016, 3:36 PM | Updated: 3:59 pm
Seahawks GM John Schneider has said the team walks away from 70 to 80 percent of discussed deals. (...
Seahawks GM John Schneider has said the team walks away from 70 to 80 percent of discussed deals. (AP)
(AP)

“Always Compete” is the message the Seahawks drill into their players. “Always Look” might as well be the motto for Seattle’s front office, which will leave no stone unturned in considering ways to strengthen the team’s roster.

General manager John Schneider has talked on countless occasions about how the Seahawks will at least kick the tires on every opportunity that presents itself, which is something to keep in mind amid a report stating that Seattle would be interested if the Eagles were to part ways with running back DeMarco Murray.

“When we talk about being aggressive and being in every deal, it’s basically knowing what the Joneses are doing out there and being able to stay in deals,” Schneider told “Brock and Salk” last month. “That’s kind of how we got guys like Ahtyba Rubin here, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett. That’s how we acquired those guys a little bit later on, just by being aggressive in terms of staying in deals.

“Now, we walk away from, shoot, I would say like 70 percent of them, maybe 80 percent.”

A report on Thursday from the NFL Network detailed Murray’s unhappiness with his situation in Philadelphia and how it could potentially lead to a divorce after one tumultuous and disappointing season. Reporter Ian Rapoport identified Seattle, Dallas and Oakland as teams that would be interested in Murray if he were to be released, stating that they were all interested last offseason before he signed a free-agent deal with the Eagles worth $40 million over five years.

It’s difficult to imagine Murray ending up in Seattle next season for a number of reasons.

Start with how severe the financial ramifications would be if Philadelphia were to release Murray one year into his massive contract, which makes that a big “if.” Doing so would mean eating the $13 million in remaining guaranteed money, according to the reported terms of his deal. Depending on how the Eagles did it, that could all count against their 2016 salary cap. He’s currently scheduled to count $8 million next season. So while it would save the Eagles money in the long run, cutting Murray this offseason could actually be significantly more expensive in the short term than keeping him.

Perhaps Murray would be willing to re-work his contract to facilitate a trade, but that wouldn’t make much sense for Seattle even with Marshawn Lynch not expected to be back with the Seahawks next season one way or another.

Why give up a draft pick for the right to assume what would still be a pricey contract when Thomas Rawls has already shown he can take over in Seattle’s backfield?

Rawls is five years younger and making next to nothing on an undrafted rookie contract that has two years left. He’s a proven commodity in Seattle’s offense whereas Murray’s unproductive first season in Philadelphia is a reminder that running backs aren’t always compatible from one scheme to another. Rawls rushed for 830 yards in seven games and led the league with a 5.6 yards-per-carry average before he went down with a season-ending ankle fracture. After leading the league in rushing with Dallas in 2014, Murray totaled 702 yards in 15 games last year, posting a career-low 3.6-yard average.

The Seahawks can’t count solely on Rawls, of course, especially considering he’s coming off a serious injury. But Christine Michael, a restricted free agent, showed in his return to Seattle last season that he’s worthy of consideration for a complementary role.

Whatever money the Seahawks would have to pay Murray would be better spent elsewhere. Seattle has seven starters who are set to become unrestricted free agents, including two along an offensive line that perhaps could use a veteran reinforcement even if Russell Okung and/or J.R. Sweezy are re-signed.

The Seahawks would presumably take a look at Murray if he were to become available. They usually do. But this seems like another deal from which they’d end up walking away.

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