The Philadelphia Eagles saw their playoff hopes take a hit on Sunday with a loss to the Cardinals and the team once again barely used high-priced running back DeMarco Murray. Chip Kelly started Ryan Mathews again and looking ahead into 2016, there is a chance the Eagles could consider the release of Murray after Kelly has pushed him down on the depth chart.
Murray signed with the Eagles in the offseason on a big contract and over the past month he has been overtaken by Ryan Mathews as the starter. Kelly has used Darren Sproles, Murray, Mathews and Kenjon Barner at times throughout the season, but for a big chunk Murray was the starter, but clearly things have changed. Murray had just two carries for three yards in the game against the Cardinals and did not get his first carry until the middle of the game.
Murray signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Eagles in the offseason and while he knew that the team would use a rotation, he did not expect to be as far down on it as he has been in recent weeks. There have been numerous reports through the season that Murray has been frustrated with his role on the team and that likely will continue after this game. Last week there were reports that Murray spoke with team owner Jeffery Lurie about the situation and moving forward there is a chance that Murray could try and force his way out of Philadelphia if he is not happy with his role.
Murray is set to make $9 million guaranteed next year and that could complicate things, but the team could consider making a move either through the trade or release of Murray if things continue in this direction. Murray got off to a very slow start this season with 47 yards in his first three games, but after that the Eagles fed him the ball and got some solid production. Murray had double digit carries for a long stretch in October and November, but over the past three games he has just 21 total carries for the Eagles.
Murray did not criticize his role after the game on Sunday night against the Cardinals, saying that "whenever I get an opportunity I just got to make the best of it. I'm not calling the plays. Things [that are] out of my control, I can't worry about it," according to ESPN. Murray has 606 yards this season in 13 games after leading the league in rushing last year.
Sam Bradford had solid stats in the game against the Cardinals while passing for 361 yards and two touchdowns, but the quarterback also struggled with turnovers. Bradford had two interceptions and one fumble lost in the 40-17 defeat against the Cardinals. Kelly said after the game that he thought "Sam played well" and that some of the receivers need to do a better job of holding onto the ball. Kelly has supported Bradford through the season and over the final weeks of the year the team will have to determine if he is the long term option in Philly.