When Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray suffered a torn ACL back in December the expectation was that he’d be able to return for the start of the 2023 NFL season.
That now doesn’t seem to be the case. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Murray is unlikely to be cleared for Week 1. In fact, there’s a possibility that he might not see the field until midway through the 2023 season.
All of this comes with new Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort leading a search for a new head coach to replace the recently-fired Kliff Kingsbury. Things have been slow in that regard, leading to questions about whether the job is seen as attractive. Dan Quinn’s decision to spurn the Cardinals and return as the the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive coordinator added a new layer to that belief.
As for Murray, it’s being reported that he is involved in the Cardinals’ search for a new head coach. How involved the embattled quarterback is remains to be seen.
- Kyler Murray stats (2022): 66% completion, 2,368 passing yards, 418 rushing yards, 17 total TD, 7 INT, 87.2 QB rating
Fresh off signing a massive contract extension last offseason, Murray put up the worst performance of his four-year career. He also led the Cardinals to a disastrous 3-8 record while continually finding himself at odds with the aforementioned Kingsbury.
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Arizona is highly unlikely to stick with veteran Colt McCoy as a stopgap option should Murray miss the first half fo the 2023 season. Instead, the team would likely go the veteran route.
A lot of that will depend on who the Cardinals bring in as their next head coach. The team seems to be focusing centrally on defensive-minded candidates such as Aaron Glenn (Detroit Lions), Ejiro Evero (Denver Broncos) and Brian Flores (Pittsburgh Steelers). The one outlier here is Super Bowl-winning coach Sean Payton. But it’s looking more and more like he’s headed back to his cushy gig with Fox Sports.
Regardless, there’s a decision new Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort has to make. He can’t bank on Murray being available for Week 1. Heck, Arizona has too much invested in the quarterback to play it loose with an injury of this ilk.
- Kyler Murray contract: 5 years, $230.5 million w/ $103.3 fully guaranteed
In lieu of rushing Murray back, Arizona will likely hit the free-agent market for a stopgap option. Assuming bigger names such as Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo won’t be interested in that role, there’s still some other options for the Cardinals.
Jacoby Brissett of the Cleveland Browns as well as Carolina Panthers quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold could make sense. If he’s released, Tennessee Titans signal caller Ryan Tannehill would likely be an option, too. He worked with Ossenfort in Nashville.