With free agency just around the corner, the Atlanta Falcons are already mulling their options. Let's be honest, difficult decisions are looming. The likely release of veteran running back Steven Jackson, while justifiable, will have consequences. The Falcons already lack a feature back; if Jackson is released, they'll be left with rookie phenom Devonta Freeman and little else. Sure, they can re-sign Antone Smith and Jacquizz Rodgers, but neither man can anchor the running game. And while Freeman exudes potential, he's still an unproven commodity that struggles far too often in pass protection.
In short, between free agency and the draft, the Falcons may need to add a running back or two this off-season. That said, who should they pursue? The draft offers several options, but the fan base may revolt if any early draft picks are burned on a running back. Then there's free agency. Free agent running back DeMarco Murray will be a hot commodity, and the Falcons might pursue him.
The Atlanta Falcons have been linked to DeMarco Murray for several weeks. In a story published in January, ESPN's Bill Williamson said he believed that Murray would be a good fit in Atlanta's backfield, especially without a strong incumbent and new coach Dan Quinn looking to make an impact.
I'll be honest, there's nothing concrete here. It's only chatter at this point. But that could change quickly in the next couple weeks.
The Falcons have the money to spend, and they're very committed to revamping their running game. Murray led the league in rushing last season, though he did log 392 rushing attempts. It's a scary amount of wear and tear for the soon-to-be 27-year-old running back (his birthday is Thursday). Historically a running back's peak is age 28, then his production tends to decrease. We could reasonably expect 2 good years from Murray, but he's not going to want a 2 year contract.
With the right, back-loaded contract, Murray to the Falcons may make sense. I wouldn't count on it happening, though it's certainly an intriguing possibility. Your thoughts?