NFL: DeMarco Murray agrees five-year-deal with Philadelphia Eagles

DeMarco Murray has agreed a five year deal with Philadelphia Eagles.

The NFL’s leading rusher is leaving the Dallas Cowboys to join the rival Philadelphia Eagles after agreeing to a five-year contract on Thursday.

Terms of the contract for the free-agent running back were not disclosed by the team, though various media reports earlier said the deal was worth $42 million.

“I’m glad and fortunate to be here. It’s a great organization,” said Murray, who said he turned down a couple of richer offers to sign with Philadelphia, told a news conference. “It’s a privilege and an honor. I’m ready to get started.”

He said newly-acquired Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford, his college teammate at Oklahoma, had a big influence on his decision.

“Obviously, Sam’s a great friend of mine, like a brother to me,” he said. “It was a huge influence.”

Murray, 27, was named the NFL’s offensive player of the year in 2014 after rushing for a Cowboys franchise-record 1,845 yards and catching 57 passes for another 416 yards.

He also tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns with 13 and set the NFL record by opening the season with eight consecutive 100-yard rushing games.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones praised Murray for his years with Dallas and said that the running back would still be with the team if they had room under the salary cap.

“If it were a question of having an open checkbook with no salary cap constraints, we all know things would have worked out differently,” Jones said in a statement.

“At the end of the day, this is about finding the best way to collectively fit all of the individual pieces together, in terms of talent, offensive players, defensive players and dollars – under the salary cap structure – that gives you the best chance to have a championship team.”

Murray replaces running back LeSean McCoy, third in the NFL in rushing with 1,319 yards, who was traded to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso earlier this week.

Before signing Murray, the Eagles had appeared close to a deal with free-agent running back Frank Gore before he reversed course and signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

Earlier on Thursday, the Eagles agreed to terms on a three-year contract with running back Ryan Mathews.

A first-round draft pick by San Diego in 2010, Mathews gained 4,061 yards and scored 23 touchdowns in five seasons. He also caught 146 passes for 1,110 yards and one touchdown.

Mathews, 27, twice eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2011.

The Eagles have been busy since free agency started, trading quarterback Nick Foles to the St. Louis Rams for quarterback Sam Bradford, signing cornerback Walter Thurmond and re-signing quarterback Mark Sanchez.