The Saints cut a veteran player an hour before his $3 million salary became guaranteed because he wouldn't take a pay cut

The Saints cut a veteran player an hour before his $3 million salary became guaranteed because he wouldn't take a pay cut
Latavius Murray. Tyler Kaufman/AP Images
  • The Saints cut backup running back Latavius Murray on Tuesday.
  • According to a report, Murray refused to take a pay cut from his $3 million salary.
  • The timing was especially brutal, as Murray's salary would have soon become guaranteed.

Veteran running back Latavius Murray is searching for a new team days before the NFL season begins.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the New Orleans Saints cut the 31-year-old Murray, their backup running back, on Tuesday.

Schefter reported that the Saints asked Murray for a pay cut. Murray refused and was then cut from the team.

Former NFL player and current Fox Sports analyst Emmanuel Acho noted that the timing was even harsher. According to Acho, Murray is a vested veteran - a player with four years of experience. If Murray had been on the roster past 3 p.m. on Tuesday, his salary for 2021 would have become guaranteed.

According to ESPN's Mike Triplett, Murray had $3.15 million in salary and bonuses for this season.


As Acho and Schefter also pointed out, Murray is coming off the most efficient season of his career, averaging 4.5 yards per carry for 656 rushing yards. In 2019, Murray filled in for the injured Alvin Kamara and produced 307 total yards from scrimmage and 4 touchdowns.

In other words, Murray likely was not interested in taking a pay cut, given how he had produced when his number was called.

Several members of the sports world noted that it's the latest example of why athletes must sometimes take care of themselves before the team.

Former NFL defensive tackle and ESPN analyst Mike Golic once described a similar scenario during his playing career. Heading into his ninth season in the NFL, Golic was recovering from knee surgery while on the Miami Dolphins, who had just drafted two defensive tackles.

Golic wanted to test his knee during minicamp to see how he was progressing from surgery. The Dolphins made him sign a waiver that stated his knee was healthy enough to play. Golic signed it, which gave the Dolphins the permission they needed to cut Golic since NFL teams can't cut injured players. Golic never played again in the NFL.


While Murray seems likely to find a backup role on another team at least, it is a reminder that roster spots are tenuous for even productive players.