The Buffalo Bills have a stable of 29-year old running backs at the top of their depth chart. Led by future Hall of Fame player LeSean McCoy, the Bills have produced in the running game to the tune of 7,079 yards since acquiring McCoy from the Philadelphia Eagles prior to the 2015 season. Of those yards, McCoy has rushed for 3,300 of them himself.
Little attention, then, is paid to Shady’s backups. In our latest installment of “90 players in 90 days” leading up to the 2018 NFL season, we profile one of the players competing for the right to relieve LeSean McCoy.
Name: Marcus Murphy
Height/Weight: 5’8”, 193 lbs.
Draft: Selected in the seventh round (230th overall) by the New Orleans Saints in 2015
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Murphy enters year two of a three-year contract he signed with the Bills, totaling $1,965,000. He will count $630,000 against the cap in 2018; there is no guaranteed money on the contract.
2017 Recap: Murphy appeared in one game with the Bills, spelling McCoy during the regular season finale against the Miami Dolphins. In that game, Murphy was solid, rushing seven times for 41 yards. He also caught two passes for 7 yards. He had been a member of Buffalo’s practice squad since November 6.
Positional outlook: McCoy is the clear top dog in the running back rotation, and fellow 29-year old back Chris Ivory, signed after last playing with the Jacksonville Jaguars, figures to be Shady’s top backup. That leaves Murphy battling with Taiwan Jones and Travaris Cadet for either one or two roster spots.
2018 Offseason: The fact that only Ivory was added to the offensive backfield has to bode well for players like Jones, Cadet, and Murphy, who all saw varying degrees of success in their limited roles last season. Training camp and preseason games will go a long way towards determining which of these players makes the final roster.
2018 season outlook: The Bills initially kept five running backs on the 53-man roster last season, so it’s definitely possible that they do the same again this year. With a new offensive coordinator and a new offensive scheme, it’s also possible that the total drops to 4. In any case, it will be difficult for Murphy to earn anything more than the third-string role. He has experience as a kick returner and a punt returner, having handled that job during his days with the Saints. With the Bills opting to move on from Brandon Tate, Murphy may be competing with rookie Ray-Ray McCloud for time in the return game. Murphy has some potential, but he’ll need a big preseason and training camp to earn a roster spot in 2018.