Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray continues to take his rift with the organization to the public court.
Earlier in the offseason, Murray deleted all evidence of the Cardinals’ organization from his social media profiles.
Rumors of discontent had grown strong since Murray and his Cardinals bombed out down the stretch — losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Wild Card Playoffs.
Entering his fourth season in the NFL, the former No. 1 pick figured it made sense to utilize his agent in yet another statement sent through the media. In said statement, Erik Burkhardt of Select Sports Group made it clear that Kyler Murray is committed to the Cardinals as long as they back up the Brinks Truck for his client.
It’s a statement unlike anything we’ve seen around the NFL world in some time, and is usually reserved for negotiations behind the scenes.
“Looking ahead, Kyler believes that in order to consistently compete for championships, and ultimately deliver the valley their first Super Bowl in 33-plus years, there needs to be long-term stability for both the organization and himself. To overtly communicate Kyler’s desire to be the Cardinals’ long-term QB, we sent a detailed contract proposal to the organization.”Statement from Kyler Murray, via agent Erik Burkhardt (February 28, 2022)
To be clear, Murray is making it known he wants to remain a member of the Cardinals and lead the fledgling organization to Super Bowl contention. His reps are also making it clear this will only happen if the Cardinals pony up a lucrative long-term contract extension.
“It is now simply up to the Cardinals to decide if they prioritize their rapidly improving, 24-year-old, already two-time Pro Bowl QB, who led the organization from three wins before his arrival to 11 wins and their first playoff appearance in five years,” Burkhardt’s statement read.
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Kyler Murray’s public dog and pony show won’t do QB any favors
Generally, organizations frown upon releases we just read from Murray’s agent. They like to do things behind the scenes. By making his contract demands public, Murray is creating the possibility of a new rift growing.
In fact, the Cardinals’ brass had already made it clear they envision the former No. 1 pick being the face of the franchise before this statement was made public record. They’re also open to an extension this offseason.
“These contracts, especially the quarterback contracts, are very complicated. Most of the big ones are done further down the road (of the offseason.) I think Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen were done in the summertime, others were done in the summertime. So we’ve got time.”Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill on Kyler Murray contract situation
Legitimate questions surrounding Kyler Murray contract extension
Over the course of the past decade, six quarterbacks have signed massive contract extensions before their fourth season in the NFL. Murray is first-time eligible this offseason, which makes his public stance even more confusing.
Of the six that have agreed to new deals after just three NFL seasons, it’s certainly a mixed bag.
- Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills: 6 years, $258.03 million (August 2021)
- Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs: 10 years, $450 million (July 2020)
- Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans: 4 years, $156 million (September 2020)
- Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams: 4 years, $134 million (September 2019)
- Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles: 4 years, $128 million (June 2019)
- Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: 4 years, $77 million (May 2015)
Of those six, only two suited up with the teams that they signed said extensions with last season.
Both Goff and Wentz were jettisoned from their original squads after some major struggles. Watson sat out last season after requesting a trade and with the quarterback facing allegations of sexual misconduct.
While Murray is his own entity here, it’s hard to ignore the mixed bags teams have had extending quarterbacks after just three seasons. His lack of true progression a season ago adds another layer to this.
- Kyler Murray stats (2020): 67% completion, 3,971 passing yards, 819 rushing yards, 37 total TD, 12 INT
- Kyler Murray stats (2021): 69% completion, 3,787 passing yards, 423 rushing yards, 29 total TD, 10 INT
These still represent Pro Bowl-caliber numbers. At issue here were Murray’s struggles down the stretch. He accounted for 20 total touchdowns and five turnovers during Arizona’s 7-0 start to the 2021 season. The Cardinals went 2-5 in Murray’s final seven regular-season starts with the quarterback accounting for nine total touchdowns and five turnovers.
We have absolutely no idea what Murray’s camp demanded in a contract extension behind the scenes. But given the fact that they pointed to the ever-evolving quarterback market (for good reason), a hometown discount won’t be in the cards.
That is to say, Murray will likely demand north of $40 million annually on a long-term deal. This would put him right there with Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys as the third highest-paid player in the NFL.
Placing public pressure on the Cardinals’ brass to get something done won’t change what Bidwell and Co. do behind the scenes. It seems to be a clear miscalculation on the part of Murray and his agent.
Time will tell on this front.