Saints are releasing RB Latavius Murray, per source. They asked for a pay reduction yesterday and he refused. Murray is coming off his best season, averaging 4.5 yards per carry and 7.7 yards per catch.
Jones has shot up the depth chart this summer, and with the release of Devonta Forman and now Murray, it looks like Jones is the team's RB2. Kamara owners take note. Jones could have standalone value as well. Over the past two seasons, when Kamara is active and healthy (29 games), Murray has averaged 9.9 touches for 48 yards and 0.24 touchdowns per game. In the two games that Kamara missed, Murray averaged an eye-popping 31.0 touches for 153.5 yards and 2.0 touchdowns. Jones should at least get a similar workload.
This isn't necessarily a surprise, but there were those who thought Murray would get cut due to his cap hit. But Murray survives as of now, however, his role is still in doubt as many predict Jones will be the RB2 behind Kamara. The Saints RB2 at least as some standalone fantasy value, but the real value would come with a Kamara injury, so this is a key handcuff situation to monitor.
ESPN's MNF broadcasters said Sean Payton raved about RB Tony Jones Jr. in pre-game production meetings and even said "If you’re asking me today, my No. 2 RB is Tony Jones." Payton used Jones a lot with the 1s to evaluate whether he'll move him ahead of vets Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman.
Kamara owners take note. While the first thought is this could be coach-speak, we had a recent news story that Murray and Freeman have both looked unimpressive at times, especially in preseason Week 1. One beat writer speculated Freeman may end up passing Murray on the depth chart, but at this point it looks like Jones has a shot to blow by them all. The Saints RB2 can have stand alone value, but could have RB1 value should Kamara miss time. This battle is worth monitoring, especially Kamara owners.
The duo combined for only 12 yards on 11 carries. Murray missed a block on a blitz pickup in the first quarter. Both players lost a fumble. Murray and Freeman could be battling each other for a roster spot, even though I assume Murray will make the team.
It's hard to believe Murray wouldn't be the team's RB2, at least based off last year's production. Whoever wins the job, it's worth noting especially for those wanting to handcuff Kamara. But, the team's RB2 could also have stand-alone value in certain leagues as well. Meanwhile, Jones Jr. stole the show among the running backs, according to the story, with 82 rushing yards on seven carries, including an 18-yard touchdown. The story added, at worst, Jones should be a practice squad player for the Saints.