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Latavius Murray signing given a D+ grade by Sports Illustrated

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SI was very critical of the Saints’ first free agent acquisition of 2019.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the New Orleans Saints have officially signed Latavius Murray to pair with Alvin Kamara in the backfield, it’s time to assess the move.

Sports Illustrated has been grading the moves of each NFL team’s free agency so far. The grade given to the Latavius Murray signing? D+. Not so hot.

With Ingram, the Saints could feel O.K. with limiting superstar Alvin Kamara to 70% of the snaps. With Murray, as the season wears on, they’ll be more and more tempted to keep Kamara on the field. That’s not insignificant given that this offense for the next 5-7 years is expected to be built around Kamara, whom many NFL coaches regard as football’s best all-around back.

New Orleans is in win-now mode, but the team took a step back at what’s been an important position in their scheme.

GRADE: D+

There’s not really much reason given for why Murray is such a downgrade for the Saints offense. The article makes a blanket statement that Ingram is a more polished runner than Murray, but doesn’t provide any statistical basis to explain why Murray - a career backup who would essentially remain in that limited role with the Saints - is going to be such a detriment to the offense.

If the offense were to run through Murray, maybe the article would have more merit. But, as addressed in the above quote, it is Kamara who is the focal point of the Saints run game. Murray doesn’t need to be a Pro Bowler. He just needs to be serviceable enough to let Kamara have a breather.

The major disappointing assessment from the article is this quote:

Murray was signed for an average of $4.5 million over four years, which is a tick more than what Ingram had been making. If Ingram doesn’t garner at least $6 million annually from whatever team signs him, this will register as one of the most befuddling roster moves of 2019.

Well...about that...