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Saints to sign Latavius Murray: Grade, reaction, analysis

In their search for a compliment to Alvin Kamara, the New Orleans Saints have reportedly settled on Latavius Murray.

Over the last few seasons, the New Orleans Saints have had a top backfield duo in Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. But with Ingram hitting free agency, ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported the Saints will sign Latavius Murray.

Murray has spent the last two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, starting 17 of 32 games as Dalvin Cook missed time to injury in both campaigns. In 2017, he had 216 carries for 842 yards and eight touchdowns, and last season he had 578 yards on 140 carries (4.1 yards per carry) along with six touchdowns.

Contract Details

Via Schefter, Murray will sign a four-year, $14.4 million deal with the Saints. There was no immediate word on the guaranteed money.

National Reaction

Per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the Saints never entered into contract talks with Ingram.

Pat Thorman of Pro Football Focus had an interesting nugget regarding Murray. Only Todd Gurley (46) has found pay dirt on the ground more often than his 32 times over the last four seasons.

Of course, there are fantasy football implications.

Also with a fantasy tone, Murray stepping into Ingram’s role stands to have an impact on Kamara.

Murray is easy to see as a downgrade from Ingram, but he is also a set of fresher legs with 422 fewer career carries at almost exactly the same age. Playing behind a better offensive line, and being part of a better offense overall, brings a “high tide raises all ships” element to Murray’s outlook with the Saints.

Kamara should be in line for a bigger role with Ingram gone, but Saints’ head coach Sean Payton has typically avoided having a workhorse back. Murray should be involved on a notable level, with a likely tilt toward short yardage and goal line work.

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