Saints sign Latavius Murray to four-year contract

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Latavius Murray

The New Orleans Saints have reportedly agreed to a deal with free-agent running back Latavius Murray.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Murray will sign a four-year, $14.4 million deal with the Saints.

Schefter noted the potential addition of the former Vikings and Raiders running back likely means Mark Ingram won’t return to New Orleans.

The New Orleans Saints announced today that they have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent RB Latavius Murray on a four-year contract. The announcement was made by Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis.

Murray, 6-3, 230 pounds, is a six-year NFL veteran who was originally a sixth round draft pick (181st overall) of the Oakland Raiders in 2013 out of Central Florida and has played for the Raiders (2013-16) and Minnesota Vikings (2017-18).

Over the course of his six-year National Football League career, Murray has appeared in 77 games with 48 starts, carrying 899 times for 3,698 yards (4.1 avg.) with 34 touchdowns and catching 128 passes for 883 yards. His 26 rushing touchdowns since the 2016 season rank fourth in the NFL.

Murray enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2015 for the Raiders, when he started all 16 games and carried 266 times for 1,066 yards with six touchdowns and caught 41 passes for 232 yards, as he was selected to the Pro Bowl. The following season, he helped lead the Raiders to the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 campaign as he carried 195 times for 788 yards with 12 touchdowns and catching 33 passes for 264 yards. Murray led Oakland in rushing for the second consecutive season and ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing touchdowns.

Murray signed with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017 and over the past two seasons, led the club in rushing with 1,420 yards and 14 touchdowns. In 2017, he played in all 16 games with 11 starts and carried 216 times for 842 yards with eight touchdowns as the Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship. In 2018, he played in all 16 games with six starts and carried 140 times for 578 yards (4.1 avg.) with a club-best six touchdowns.

Murray, a native of Nedrow, N.Y., played in 45 career games at Central Florida, completing his college career with 453 receptions for 2,424 yards (5.4 avg.) and 373 touchdowns. He also registered 50 receptions for 524 yards and six touchdowns. Murray finished his college career ranked second in school history in total touchdowns (44), eight in rushing attempts (453), sixth in rushing yards (2,424) and third in rushing touchdowns (37). As a senior in 2012, he racked up 1,106 yards on 198 attempts with 15 touchdowns, as he was named first-team All-Conference USA and became the first player in UCF history to rush for a touchdown in nine straight games.

New Orleans Saints Running Back Latavius Murray
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, March 14, 2019

How did this deal come together for you?
“Well you go into free agency really not knowing what’s going to happen. Maybe you start to learn which teams have interest, for me there was a little bit of interest spread around and then things really started to heat up as the timeframe got closer to where negotiations and what not can begin. To be honest, I think this year was maybe an example of not knowing exactly (what) team you possibly may end up coming into the picture and really making a push.”

What was it about the Saints that stood out to you?
“I think we could sit here all day (and talk about reasons). I think if you just look at the success that they’ve had over the years. The offense and how explosive they are and the different things that Coach (Sean) Payton does and their defense who I’ve had to play against three times in the past two years. Them being just right there in the fight again in the past few years. It’s kind of a no brainer now having the opportunity to be in a place that has a great locker room and the opportunity to go out there and compete for a championship.”

Did you receive a chance to talk to Josh Robinson, a teammate at Central Florida or Teddy Bridgewater, a teammate with the Vikings in 2017, about the Saints?
“I haven’t talked to Josh. I’ve talked with Teddy. Teddy told me nothing but great things initially, even before free agency with me still being in Minnesota and not even having any idea that I would end up here, but Teddy told me great things at that point just because we were together in Minnesota and we’re friends. He had nothing but great things to say, but I reached out once again when things kind of heated up, obviously just to reaffirm and heard nothing but great things. Josh loved it when we spoke in pregame last year when New Orleans came to play Minnesota.”

Do you know Alvin Kamara at all?
“I just spoke to him. After the games we played (as well) we’ve played three times when I was in Minnesota in the past two years. Just exchanging words after, (I have) a lot of respect for him and his game. (Alvin’s) one of the best backs in the league. I’m excited just to be able to work with him every day and learn from him and if there’s anything that I can give, knowledge or whatever I’m definitely here for that as well too.”

How well do you think you think you two could play off each other?
“I think the sky’s the limit. I’m very confident in what I’m able to do on the field and I think he’s proven that as well in the past few years, in a short amount of time. I think the sky’s the limit, but at this point it’s nothing but talk for anybody that’s in this situation right now. There’s a long time before we can get on the field and prove it.”

How tough is it to replace Mark Ingram since he was here for eight years?
“I think it’s a tough situation when you look at Mark being drafted here and being here for so long and obviously him doing some great things here for the city, for this organization, but I think you really can’t look at that as anything personal. We actually briefly spoke, I sent him a message, congratulating him on his new deal and told him I’m going to need some pointers for maneuvering around the city here and anyway he can help me. This is business and Mark and I we’re friends before this and that won’t change anything and my approach coming to this new team is me being the best that I can be for this team and for this organization and doing all I can do so we’re able to go out there and be successful and win.”
What was the experience like for you and Dalvin Cook trying to replace Adrian Peterson?
“I wouldn’t say there are similarities. I think no matter where you go there’s turnover in the league every year and I think when you try and say you’re replacing somebody or you’re supposed to do this or you’re supposed to do that, I think you can make things maybe harder on yourself or the expectations of what I have nothing to do with who was here before me or maybe what they did. My expectations on whichever team I’m playing for in here now is to go out there and be the best that I can be and bring what I can bring to the team so we can go out there and win and I try not to think about the personnel things or get caught up in that because those are things that I can’t control.”

What did Mark Ingram say to you?
“He congratulated me and told me he’ll tell me whatever it is I want to know about the city and about the team and he reiterated how much he loved this locker room and I’m very lucky to be around a great group of guys.”

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