Kyler Murray Rumors: Cardinals Not Expected to Trade QB, Budgeted for New Contract

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVApril 17, 2022

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 17: Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals runs off the field during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at SoFi Stadium on January 17, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals and Kyler Murray may be at a standstill in contract negotiations over a long-term extension, but an eventual agreement is still the most likely outcome. 

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Sunday that executives around the league don't expect the Cardinals to trade the star quarterback. He continued:

"They think that Arizona knows that they have a good situation with him, a franchise quarterback. And that really Arizona, I'm told, has budgeted for having to re-sign Murray for a while now. They knew this day was coming, just probably a little earlier than they thought it would based on the pressure that Murray and his agent have put on things. Now, I'm told that Murray has talked to teammates and been encouraging as in, 'Hey, look, I love Arizona, I think I'm going to be here, things should work out.' Still some questions whether he'll show up for offseason workouts coming up, given his contract situation. And something's going to have to reach a boiling point, because he's going to want a deal soon, possibly around draft time. If it doesn't happen by then, things could get even more complicated."

Murray, 24, is entering his fourth season, making him eligible for a long-term extension. The NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Thursday that Murray isn't expected to play without that extension. 

The quarterback market has continued to inflate this offseason, however, with recent long-term extensions for Aaron Rodgers (three years, $150 million), Deshaun Watson (five years, $230 million), Matt Stafford (four years, $160 million) and Derek Carr (three years, $121.5 million).

That's likely the investment that Murray is looking for from the Cardinals. Whether the Cardinals are ready to approach those types of figures remains to be seen. With Murray under contract for the next two seasons—he has a team option for 2023 the team will assuredly exercise, with the deadline coming up on May 2—and the ability for the team to use the franchise tag after that, the Cardinals have their share of leverage. 

The downside of overplaying that leverage is souring the long-term relationship with Murray and risking him potentially holding out into the season, a major blow for a team with title aspirations in 2022. 

The two sides traded passive-aggressive barbs in February, scrubbing their social media accounts of one another. To this point, the showdown hasn't escalated much beyond that and various reports leaking about the situation.

Murray had a strong season in 2021, throwing for 3787 yards, 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, completing 67.7 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 423 yards and three touchdowns, leading the team to a 9-5 record in the games he played (injuries cost him three games). 

If Murray were to hit the trade market, just about every quarterback-needy team would come calling. For now, however, that still appears to be the nuclear option.