Report: Raiders to let Latavius Murray test market as free agent

Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray will have the option to play in a different city next season.

Latavius Murray will get a chance to gauge his exact value this offseason.

According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, the Oakland Raiders will allow their starting running back to test his value on the open market as an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins on March 9 at 4 p.m. ET. The Raiders will reportedly “remain open” to the possibility of a return.

Murray, 27, has led the Raiders on the ground each of the past two seasons. He eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in 2015 and rushed for a career-high 12 touchdowns in 2016.

The decision to let such a crucial contributor walk in free agency stems from the team’s prioritization of signing franchise quarterback Derek Carr and All-Pro edge defender Khalil Mack to contract extensions. Carr is projected to become one of the NFL’s five highest-paid players, and Mack is projected to become the NFL’s highest-paid non-quarterback.

That does not leave a lot of money for the Raiders to lock up Murray, especially when you consider the fact that a contract extension for wide receiver Amari Cooper, another top draft pick, likely has a contract extension in his not-so-distant future, too.

Murray is a 6-foot-3, 225-pound running back who excels in short-yardage and goal-line situations. He is a proficient pass protecter and a decent pass catcher, making him a true every-down back for an offense that needs one.

In three seasons with the Raiders, the former sixth-round draft pick rushed for 2,278 yards (4.2 yards/attempt) and 20 touchdowns. Murray has also caught 91 career passes for 639 yards.