Latavius Murray

Broncos To Sign RB Samaje Perine

Seeking Javonte Williams insurance, the Broncos are looking to another team’s backup. Former Bengals running back Samaje Perine is signing a two-year Denver deal, Mike Garafolo of tweets.

The Broncos are giving the former Joe Mixon backup a two-year, $7.5MM deal that includes an additional $1MM in incentives. Perine will join his fourth NFL team and an offense in transition. With Williams recovering from ACL surgery, an opportunity at a bigger role may exist in Denver.

Backing up Mixon both in Cincinnati and at Oklahoma, Perine effectively filled in for the starter last season. The 240-pound back scored four touchdowns in a two-game starter span last year, helping the Bengals to wins over the Steelers and Chiefs. He totaled 21 carries for 106 yards and a score over the eventual Super Bowl champions.

This pickup is also interesting due to the number of young starters available for the Broncos. While the Dolphins brought back both Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson and the Eagles inked Rashaad Penny, the rest of the starters who were not franchise-tagged remain on the market. Kareem Hunt, Miles Sanders, Devin Singletary, Jamaal Williams, D’Onta Foreman, Damien Harris and David Montgomery are available. It does not appear each will command starter-level money, with a supply-and-demand issue favoring teams, so the Broncos diving in early on Perine either points to some conviction from team brass or an intent not to devote much money to the Williams insurance slot.

That said, Perine only has 401 career carries on his odometer. Although he is headed into an age-28 season, the light workload should benefit him. And the Broncos did operate aggressively on Day 1 of the legal tampering period, giving big deals to Mike McGlinchey, Ben Powers and Zach Allen. Sean Payton favorite Latavius Murray might also be on the docket; 9News’ Mike Klis confirms Murray is still a possibility (Twitter link). The Broncos may still be on the lookout for a back with more pass-catching upside, though Perine did finish with a career-high 38 receptions for 287 yards last season.

Williams suffered a torn ACL in Week 4 of season, and it is not certain he will be back to start next season. Perine, then, moves into position to start in that case. Barring an agreement with one of the other UFA backs, the Broncos should be considered likely to add to their running back room during the middle rounds of the draft.

Russell Wilson Wanted Sean Payton To Replace Pete Carroll With Seahawks?

More information emerged regarding Russell Wilson‘s odd 2022 Friday morning. A report from Kalyn Kahler, Mike Sando and Jayson Jenks of The Athletic indicates the veteran quarterback made a request that Seahawks ownership fire both Pete Carroll and John Schneider, citing the duo had inhibited his pursuit of Super Bowls and awards.

This alleged request came weeks before the Seahawks decided to trade Wilson to the Broncos. Wilson denied (via Twitter) he asked for the Seattle HC and GM’s firings, and a lawyer for the QB described that assertion as “entirely fabricated.”

Wilson-Carroll disagreements about the direction of the Seahawks took place ahead of the QB’s 2021 trade destination list surfacing, and after the 2022 trade, reports indicating the NFC West team viewed its former franchise passer as declining came out. A shockingly mediocre Wilson season commenced in Denver. His partnership with Nathaniel Hackett proved a poor fit, and Hackett became the third first-year HC since the 1970 merger to be fired before season’s end.

The Broncos have since traded for Sean Payton, nearly two years after Wilson’s trade list included the Saints. Wilson wanted the Seahawks to trade for Payton’s rights after his Saints exit last year, according to The Athletic. Payton announced he was leaving the Saints on Jan. 25, 2022; Schneider and Broncos GM George Paton began discussing a trade ahead of the Feb. 5 Senior Bowl. The trade took place March 8.

The previously referenced Latavius Murray text message to his former coach occurred just before the Broncos’ Christmas blowout loss to the Rams. Payton had said Murray texted him about he and a backfield teammate wanting him in Denver, with the veteran running back confirming Wilson was the teammate. Murray sent the text Dec. 23, per The Athletic. The Broncos fired Hackett on Dec. 26, following a 51-14 loss to the Rams. No accusation is made of Wilson wanting Hackett to go, but that relationship had long trended in that direction. During the Broncos’ coaching search, Wilson reached out to Payton.

Payton soon put the kibosh on Wilson’s team having full access to Denver’s facility, but Paton allowed Wilson’s personal coach (Jake Heaps), a physical therapist and a nutritionist such privileges last year. Heaps had partial access to the Seahawks’ facility, per The Athletic, and Wilson did not have an office there. Wilson agreed to stop using the office and to keep his support staff out of the building over the season’s final two weeks.

Wilson organized weekly meetings for Denver’s offense during the players’ Tuesday off day, and The Athletic notes Heaps was part of those summits, which were aimed around preparing for the next opponent. An anonymous coach also said he did not agree with the evaluations Wilson and Heaps made on scouting reports distributed on Tuesdays. With Hackett also being accused of being too deferential to players, the potentially incongruent scouting reports would provide a partial explanation for the Broncos’ myriad offensive issues. Those came to a head during an ugly Thursday loss to the Colts in October and persisted for much of the season.

The team ended the year with three play-callers. All three (Hackett, QBs coach Klint Kubiak, OC Justin Outten) are elsewhere now. Melvin Gordon, whom the Broncos waived in November after extensive fumbling problems, said Hackett attempting to blend Wilson’s Seattle offense and Hackett’s preferred Green Bay-style blueprint was “a bit much.” The organization fired Vic Fangio in large part due to his team’s struggles offensively, but the Broncos’ Pat ShurmurTeddy Bridgewater setup ranked 23rd in scoring. The Hackett-Wilson season produced a last-place ranking, and while numerous injuries contributed to this decline, the Broncos’ QB-HC partnership generated most of the attention. Payton, who signed a five-year contract, will be tasked with cleaning up this mess.

Payton will call the Broncos’ plays next season, accepting the team’s offer after DeMeco Ryans had generated some buzz. Ryans may not have been a serious candidate. While he preferred the Texans, The Athletic describes the former 49ers DC’s Broncos interview as “awkward.”

The Seahawks have begun negotiations with Geno Smith, whose surprising season earned him Comeback Player of the Year honors. It remains to be seen if the organization will make a true long-term commitment to Wilson’s former backup, but the team that had made some draft missteps late in Wilson’s tenure will be in position to land more starters via the 2023 first- and second-round picks obtained in the Wilson swap. Carroll is signed through the 2025 season; Schneider’s latest extension runs through 2027. Both decision-makers are going into their 14th seasons in Seattle.

Sean Payton Addresses Russell Wilson, Decision To Pass On Cardinals

Terry Bradshaw made a bit of noise during Super Bowl week, saying ex-FOX coworker Sean Payton was leery of working with either Russell Wilson or Kyler Murray.

Payton interviewed with two teams that roster returning quarterbacks — the Broncos and Cardinals — and two teams without settled starters (Panthers, Texans). He ended up choosing Denver, but Bradshaw said (via Newsday’s Tom Rock, on Twitter) he accepted the Broncos’ offer in spite of Wilson and did not want to work with Murray. Noting when Bradshaw is interviewed, “you hold your breath, because you don’t know what’s going to come out,” Payton addressed why he chose the Broncos — a job that will feature a Wilson cleanup task in 2023.

For me, the first thing was ownership and general manager. That triangle needed to be strong,” Payton told Kay Adams on her Up & Adams show Thursday. “… With Russell, we’ve got someone who’s won a lot of games, who’s been successful. And then it’s really looking at, ‘Hey, what are the things he does well?’ I think anytime you have a season where it’s 5-12 or whatever their record was, my experience from afar is, generally speaking, there are a lot of people with dirt on their hands — not just Russ. That falls on other players; that falls on the coaching staff. I think those things we can clean up and correct.

More importantly, [the decision centered on] going to the place where ownership is in place and supportive and has a clear vision and the general manager’s in place, those are the key, critical factors.”

Payton has spoken highly of both new Broncos CEO Greg Penner and third-year GM George Paton. Although Payton has been connected to bringing in former GM and longtime Saints staffer Jeff Ireland, Payton compared Denver’s GM to Mickey Loomis. For the time being, it looks like the Payton-Paton setup is not in jeopardy of splintering.

Paton’s headline 2022 acquisition encountered quick turbulence. Wilson struggled for most of the season acclimating to Nathaniel Hackett‘s offense and flashed concerning form in his age-34 campaign. But he angled for Payton, reaching out to the longtime Saints HC and Drew Brees about the fit. Payton will now be in charge of salvaging the Broncos’ big-ticket quarterback get.

We spoke briefly,” Payton said of a pre-hire conversation with Wilson. “Latavius Murray is one of my former players, and he’s played with a number of teams. He’s one of those guys you like being around. We had a great experience with him in New Orleans. I got a text right at the end of the season. He said, ‘Man, we have to find a way to get you here — me and backfield teammate.’ When I heard that, I thought of running back. Then I thought of who else is in his backfield? I texted and said, ‘Who is your backfield teammate?’ He sent the number three. It was Christmas time and I said, ‘Be careful what you’re asking Santa for.’ That was my response. We kind of went from there.”

The Broncos fired Hackett on Dec. 26, and Payton became the team’s top target soon after. He made the Broncos his first meeting and said that was not due simply to logistics. While Payton offered praise for Kyler Murray, he said his “instincts were pushing me in a direction with Denver.”

This promises to be an eventful period for a Broncos team that has followed up its Super Bowl 50 win with seven straight playoff absences. The team gave Wilson and his team considerable privileges upon acquiring the longtime Seahawk, allowing him input into the offense and permitting his camp access to the facility. This involved a private office for the quarterback and access for his personal coach, Jake Heaps. Payton will be making some changes on that front. While Payton said he was unfamiliar with the previous arrangement, he confirmed (video link via’s Albert Breer) Wilson would not be working with his personal coach while at the facility.

The Cardinals have yet to hire a head coach; it appears likely no decision is coming until after Super Bowl LVII. Shortly after the team’s Payton meeting, new candidates Lou Anarumo and Mike Kafka entered the mix. Those two may well be the Arizona finalists. Anarumo’s second interview is set for Friday.

I think [Murray] is extremely talented, and I think they have the same challenges there that we have in Denver,” Payton said, via Adams (Twitter link). “They are very similar challenges. Culture in the building has to be better. It just does.”

Latest On Broncos, Sean Payton Hiring

The Broncos were connected to a number of head coaching candidates in the days leading up to their trade with the Saints, with some reports indicating that the organization was zeroing in on 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, who ended up opting for the Texans job. However, owner Greg Penner made it clear today that the team had their sights on Sean Payton days before the deal was consummated.

“We locked in five to six days before got trade done, our focus was entirely on him and closing that deal,” Penner said during Payton’s introductory press conference today (via Troy Renck of Denver7 on Twitter).

On the day of the trade, it was reported that the Broncos had made a last-ditch offer to recruit Ryans to Denver. When he declined their overtures, the team pivoted to Payton, surrendering a 2023 first-round pick and 2024 second-round pick to acquire the head coach from New Orleans. The Broncos subsequently signed their new head coach to a five-year deal.

Payton, 59, was believed to be intrigued by both the new Broncos ownership contingent and the prospect of coaching Wilson. He acknowledged as much today, and he admitted that he was ready to return to television for another year if a suitable opportunity didn’t present itself (per Kyle Newman of the Denver Post on Twitter).

More notes out of Denver:

  • Payton said he spoke with Russell Wilson before joining the Broncos, and he added that running back Latavius Murray helped recruit him to Denver (via Newman on Twitter). The veteran had a pair of productive seasons playing under Payton when the two were with the Saints, with Murray averaging 852 yards from scrimmage during his two years in New Orleans. Thanks to a number of RB injuries, Murray ended up starting seven of his 12 appearances for the Broncos last season, finishing with 827 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns.
  • The head coach’s five-year contract was suggested to be in the range of $17MM to $21MM per season, but Peter King of Football Morning in America narrows down the number to “at least” $18MM. It sounds like Payton may have had to settle for that amount, as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes that the coach was seeking a contract that would pay him around $23MM annually. However, “Denver wasn’t quite comfortable paying that” amount.
  • As Dan Graziano points out in that same ESPN article, many assumed that Payton would want full control over player personnel like he had in New Orleans. This leads to natural questions about general manager George Paton‘s job security, and Fowler notes that there’s growing buzz that Payton wants to reunite with Saints vice president/assistant general manager Jeff Ireland. However, during his press conference today, Payton expressed optimism that he’ll mesh with his GM. “I feel like I’ve got good instincts, and I feel like there’s a demeanor with him that reminds me of Mickey (Loomis) in a good way,” he said (via Mike Klis of 9News on Twitter). “Very steady. I’ve always respected the teams that he’s been a part of…There’s this myth I’m this tyrant that has to come in and control everything. I’m like, ‘Where are you guys getting all this stuff from?’ I might be a tyrant once in a while but not a lot. Anyway, I really enjoy his company and it’s worked well so far.”
  • King notes that Wilson was a proponent of adding Payton, and the quarterback is looking forward to being coached hard following a disappointing first season in Denver. King points out the height similarities between Wilson and Drew Brees, who had plenty of success under Payton when the two were in New Orleans. In fact, Wilson recently reached out to Brees “to get a preview of coming attractions.”
  • In his FMIA article, King notes that Payton won’t be in a rush to find a coordinator and will look for a coach that’s a proper match. While there’s no clarity on additions, we’re getting word on who could be out in Denver. It sounds like tight ends coach Jake Moreland and assistant offensive line coach Ben Steele will not be back next season, per Klis (on Twitter).

Broncos Elevate S Anthony Harris; RB Latavius Murray Expected To Be Inactive

Latavius Murray may well become a key factor in the Broncos’ rushing attack. The veteran declined a promotion to the Saints’ 53-man roster in order to accept the Broncos’ offer of joining their active roster, but he is not expected to suit up for Denver’s Thursday matchup.

Citing a quick turnaround from Murray’s London game and his move into a new offense, the Broncos will keep Murray on the shelf for tonight’s Colts tilt, Ian Rapoport of tweets. Murray remains on the Broncos’ active roster; he just will be a gameday inactive.

The Broncos are instead elevating running back Devine Ozigbo from their practice squad. Ozigbo will join Melvin Gordon and Mike Boone as Denver’s active backs in Week 5. Despite having been benched for his fumble against the Raiders, Gordon is expected to work as the Broncos’ lead back tonight, Tom Pelissero of tweets. It is safe to assume Gordon’s leash, in light of his fourth fumble in four games (running his Denver total to 11 — most among running backs since 2020), will be short.

Using the CBA’s gameday elevation provision, the Saints bumped Murray up to their active roster ahead of their London matchup with the Vikings. Murray logged 11 carried for 57 yards and a touchdown against his former team but reverted to New Orleans’ taxi squad after the game. He then trekked from London to New Orleans to Denver. Murray, 32, will have an extra week and change to get up to speed in Nathaniel Hackett‘s offense. The Broncos face the Chargers in Week 6’s Monday-night game.

Additionally, the Broncos promoted safety Anthony Harris to their active roster. Like Murray, Harris was in Minnesota during now-Denver GM George Paton’s lengthy tenure; the eighth-year defender joined the Broncos’ practice squad last month but has not played for the team yet. Harris sought a release from the Eagles’ practice squad, in order to select a better path toward a 2022 role. The ex-Vikings and Eagles starter should be on the field for his new team Thursday.

Harris, 30, has made 61 career starts. The Vikings franchise-tagged Harris in 2020 but did not prioritize retaining him in 2021, leading to an Eagles agreement. Harris was a full-time Philadelphia starter last season and re-signed on a lower-cost deal this offseason. But the Eagles were not as impressed with his training camp. Philly cut both Harris and Jaquiski Tartt, moving Marcus Epps into a full-time role and acquiring C.J. Gardner-Johnson from the Saints. While Harris circled back to Philly’s practice squad, he did not remain there long.

The Broncos will be without second-year safety P.J. Locke, who suffered a concussion against the Raiders, and Pro Bowler Justin Simmons remains on IR. Kareem Jackson and Caden Sterns have worked as Denver’s safety starters in Simmons’ absence. Harris, who led the NFL in interceptions with six in 2019, could see some snaps behind the starters.

Broncos Sign RB Latavius Murray Off Saints’ Practice Squad

As the Broncos deal with a season-ending knee injury to starting running back Javonte Williams, they’ve reached out for some help. Denver has reportedly signed running back Latavius Murray off of the Saints’ practice squad, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

The Saints offered Murray a spot on their active roster, according to’s Nick Underhill (on Twitter). But Murray opted for Denver, which looks set to offer a more prominent role. The Broncos will be without their top running back for the rest of the season, and their primary off-the-bench option (Melvin Gordon) is leading all backs in fumbles this season.

After a similar situation brought Murray to Baltimore last season, the 32-year-old spent the offseason training on his own before signing to the practice squad in New Orleans just after Week 1, returning to the city he called home for two years. With star running back Alvin Kamara out for the Saints’ London matchup against the Vikings last weekend, Murray was called up as a gameday elevation from the practice squad. Splitting carries with Mark Ingram in the backfield, Murray led the team with 11 rush attempts for 57 yards and a touchdown.

Murray reverted back to the practice squad after the game, allowing for other teams in the NFL to pick him away from New Orleans. Enter the Broncos, sans Williams. Denver has similarly been running a two-headed rushing attack with Williams and Gordon. The former first-rounder had put himself in the doghouse on Sunday after his fourth fumble (a league-high for a running back) before Williams was injured and, after a few carries to third-string back Mike Boone, returned to play.

The veteran Murray likely won’t be able to replace the production of Williams, but his ability to function in a split backfield makes him a handsome fit in Denver. While some may not expect much out of Murray as soon as this weekend, one needs only look back to his tenure with the Ravens to change their mind. Murray was one of several veteran running backs to sign with Baltimore following the injuries to J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill. He was signed just three days before the season began and still led the team in carries for two of the first three weeks of the year. He was eventually named the starting running back in Week 4.

In Denver, the Broncos have a legitimate starter in Gordon and an experienced backup in Boone, who has been with the team since last year. There will certainly be no need to rush Murray into action this week, but he certainly has the ability to contribute if needed.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/1/22

Today’s minor moves around the league, including practice squad elevations for tomorrow’s action:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Saints To Bring Back RB Latavius Murray

Latavius Murray is back with the Saints. The former Alvin Kamara backup agreed to return to the team, via a practice squad agreement, on Tuesday.

The veteran running back spent the 2019 and 2020 seasons in New Orleans, working alongside Kamara for playoff-bound Saints squads. The Saints released Murray just before last season started, leading him to the Ravens. Murray, 32, did not spend training camp with a team this year.

Kamara is now battling a rib injury, and the Saints spent the offseason with their backup running back position on the radar. Despite being connected to veterans, most notably David Johnson, the team moved into the regular season with its incumbent backups. Mark Ingram, 3297, resides as Kamara’s top understudy. Dwayne Washington and Tony Jones are the other running backs on New Orleans’ active roster.

A former Raiders starter who has made a nice career out of backup/1-B running back duty in his post-Oakland years, Murray was productive for the Saints during his first stint. He totaled 1,293 rushing yards and nine touchdowns in two New Orleans seasons. The Saints missed Murray last year, with Kamara missing a handful of midseason games due to injury. With the Ravens, Murray amassed 501 rushing yards (4.2 per carry) and six touchdowns.

If Murray is bumped up to New Orleans’ active roster, the Saints will be the rare team to roster two 30-something backs. Murray, whom the Raiders chose in the 2014 sixth round, has made 69 career starts. Ingram has 97 starts on his resume. Kamara already entered the season as a candidate to miss time, due to a February assault charge, but it is unclear if a suspension will come in 2022 or 2023. Kamara’s injury issue has moved the Saints to make preparations.

Ravens Receiving Trade Interest On RBs

The Ravens are receiving trade inquiries on their running backs, according to’s Adam Schefter. Their revamped backfield currently features second-year pro Ty’Son Williams plus veterans Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, and Le’Veon Bell

[RELATED: Ravens Elevate RB Le’Veon Bell]

The Ravens’ position group was decimated by injuries to J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill just before the start of the season. Now, their replacements are drawing interest from teams in advance of the November 2 trade deadline.

Through four games, the Ravens have averaged 164.5 rushing yards per contest, good for fourth in the league. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is responsible for much of their ground game success, but Williams has also impressed with 164 rushing yards and a touchdown off of 27 carries — good for a 6.1 ypc average. Freeman, in a much smaller sample of six attempts, has averaged 6.8 yards per tote. Meanwhile, Murray has three rushing TDs to lead the team.

They’ll all look to advance the Ravens to 4-1 tonight when they face the Colts in Baltimore.

Ravens, RB Latavius Murray Agree To Deal

The Ravens have agreed to sign Latavius Murray (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of It’s a one-year deal for the running back, giving Baltimore yet another accomplished veteran in the backfield. 

The Ravens recently added Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman to their practice squad, giving them the most star-studded 16-man unit in the league. There’s no doubt that they needed the reinforcements after losing J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill to season-ending injuries. Now, they’ve got UDFA Ty’Son Williams, recent pickup Trenton Cannon, and Murray as their three RBs on the main roster.

Murray averaged 4.0 yards per carry in his two seasons as the Raiders’ primary starter. While he rushed for 12 touchdowns in 2016, Murray saw Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington eat into his workload. That led him to the Vikings in 2017 followed by a four-year, $14.4MM deal with the Saints in 2019.

Missing just one game during his two-year Saints stay, Murray totaled 1,293 rushing yards with the team. He scored eleven touchdowns as a Saint, filling in for an injured Alvin Kamara at times in both seasons. The Saints moved on from the 31-year-old earlier this week, but the Ravens were happy to put him to work.

Between Murray, Freeman, Bell, and quarterback Lamar Jackson, the Ravens now employ four players with a 1,000+-yard rushing season on the resume.