The legend of Latavius Murray continues to grow.

Pro Football Focus released their rankings of their highest-graded player entering free agency from every NFL team. Murray, who celebrated his 33rd birthday last week, was the selection for the Denver Broncos. They gave him an overall 82.5 grade for his 2022 performance. Fellow Broncos free agents Alex Singleton and Cam Fleming were the runner-ups at 79.1 and 72.6, respectively. 

That grade also landed Murray as PFF’s eighth-highest running back, tied with the Washington Commanders’ Brian Robinson. Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry placed right in front of him with an 85.9 overall grade. Murray was the only running back in his 30s to fall in the top 10.

When the season began back in September, Murray was still an unsigned free agent. However, the New Orleans Saints signed him to their practice squad on Sept. 13. He was activated to their 53-man roster on Oct. 1. 

In his one-game appearance with the Saints, Murray averaged 5.2 yards per carry and scored a touchdown. Then, the Broncos lost Javonte Williams to a season-ending ACL tear that same week and immediately plucked him from the Saints. 

Murray’s rushing resurgence was a massive — and surprising — blessing for the Broncos’ offense. 

While he originally shared carries with Melvin Gordon, Murray took over as the lead back following Gordon’s release in Week 12. He provided relief for the run game’s fumbling problem, as he only lost control of the ball once all season in the final game. And that ball was swiftly recovered by Denver.

Before his arrival, Denver had been dead last in scoring in the red zone. They went on to finish the year tied for 14th.

Murray had 760 rushing yards (703 as a Bronco) in his ninth NFL season, his highest total since 2017. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry and added five more rushing touchdowns in Denver to his tally. Only Jerry Jeudy had more touchdowns for the team.

Following the Week 18 win against the Los Angeles Chargers, Murray was asked about his season with the Broncos and said, “The opportunity has been everything.”

It’s unlikely that star back Javonte Williams will be ready to go by Week 1, meaning the Broncos will need a starting back who can bridge the gap. 

Teammate Garett Bolles has already voiced his support for Murray, saying, “Hopefully, we’ll have Latavius Murray [next year]. You saw what he can do. He’s a leader in this locker room and a guy who has been there.” 

It’s clear that Murray’s presence made a massive impact on and off the field for the team this year. Despite his age, he has shown no signs of slowing down physically. It’ll be a huge missed opportunity if the Broncos don’t re-sign him.