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Details of Kyler Murray contract extension with the Arizona Cardinals are troubling

Vincent Frank

The five-year, $230.5 million contract extension star quarterback Kyler Murray signed with the Arizona Cardinals earlier in July ended an off-season filled with drama between the two sides.

Things often got contentious between the former No. 1 overall pick and Arizona’s front office, leading Murray to actually scrubbing any mention of the Cardinals from his social media accounts.

Entering his fourth season in the NFL, there’s renewed questions about Murray’s ability to be the Cardinals’ franchise quarterback moving forward. At the very least, multiple clauses written into Murray’s contract have to be seen as eye-opening.

First off, said deal requires at least four hours of Independent Study each week during the season. Secondly, there’s a clause within that aspect of the contract that is rather surprising.

“For the avoidance of doubt, player shall not receive any credit for Independent Study with respect to any time periods during which any material is displayed or played on an iPad or other electronic device if (a) player is not personally studying or watching the material while it is being displayed or played or (b) player is engaged in any other activitiy that may distract his attention (for example, watching television, playing video games or browsing the internet) while such material is being displayed or played.”

Clauses in Kyler Murray’s contract

There’s obvious questions that come up here. Why did the Cardinals find it necessary to write this into Murray’s contract? Why did Murray’s camp, led by Erik Burkhardt of Roc Nation, agree to the clauses? It’s a bit confusing.

Related: Kyler Murray and NFL’s highest-paid QBs of 2022

Backstory to Kyler Murray contract extension is rather interesting

NFL top 100 players, Kyler Murray
Dec 25, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks on against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

As we focused on when Murray signed his deal, the former Oklahoma standout did not receive anywhere near as much guaranteed as fellow Pro Bowl signal caller Deshaun Watson. Despite his obvious off-field issues, all of Watson’s $230 million contract was guaranteed. The same thing can’t be said about Arizona’s starter.

Arizona can actually get out of Murray’s current deal following the 2025 season with a mere $20.21 million dead cap hit. As for the former Heisman winner, he made waves a while back in talking about watching film and whether it’s part of his process.

“I think I was was blessed with the cognitive skills to just go out there and just see it before it happens. I’m not one of those guys that’s going to sit there and kill myself watching film. I don’t sit there for 24 hours and break down this team and that team and watch every game, because, in my head, I see so much.”

Kyler Murray on film study, via Ben Shpigel of the NY Times (December, 2021)

One has to wonder if this was a precursor to the Cardinals demanding that the aforementioned clauses were written into Murray’s contract.

Related: Kyler Murray and NFL’s top QBs of 2022

The No. 1 pick of Arizona back in 2019, Murray has played well in three seasons with the team. He’s tallied 90 total touchdowns against 34 interceptions in 46 career stats. However, the 24-year-old signal caller struggled to close out last season.

After tallying 20 total touchdowns and five picks in his first seven starts (all wins), Murray put up nine scores with five picks in his final seven regular-season starts. He then threw two interceptions without a touchdown in Arizona’s NFC Wild Card Playoff loss to the division-rival Los Angeles Rams.