Kyler Murray Rumors: Cardinals Exercise $29.7M 5th-Year Contract Option for 2023

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVApril 27, 2022

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) passes against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The Arizona Cardinals are picking up the fifth-year option on Kyler Murray's rookie contract, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

GM Steve Keim had indicated in early March it was coming and now it’s official. Locked in for nearly $30M for 2023 — escalated because he made two Pro Bowls. <a href="https://t.co/MK0F74rld7">https://t.co/MK0F74rld7</a>

That team option will pay Murray $29.7 million in base salary for the 2023 season. 

It's the latest development in what has been a fascinating offseason for Murray and the Cardinals. 

In early February, Murray scrubbed any mention of the Cardinals from his social media pages:

Cameron Cox @CamCox12

Soooooooo… either Kyler Murray’s IG page is under construction or he/his team removed all the references to the <a href="https://twitter.com/AZCardinals?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AZCardinals</a> and stopped following them. 🤷🏽‍♂️ <a href="https://t.co/MTIdmrS1TQ">pic.twitter.com/MTIdmrS1TQ</a>

A few days later, the Cardinals responded:

Cameron Cox @CamCox12

Mannnnn.... Well done <a href="https://twitter.com/tdelaneyaz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tdelaneyaz</a> and the <a href="https://twitter.com/AZCardinals?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AZCardinals</a> social media team. 😂😂😂😂😂 <a href="https://t.co/jY21a0L6us">pic.twitter.com/jY21a0L6us</a>

Then the rumors started:

Chris Mortensen @mortreport

Where’s it headed?<br>Despite the acrimony, the Cardinals expect things to calm down and Murray is their QB. <br>Select veterans hope to reach Murray on how he handle adversity better.<br>Coach Kliff Kingsbury also is self-scouting where he can provide better alternatives for QB.

Murray quickly responded:

Kyler Murray @K1

<a href="https://t.co/SpcEVwqox7">pic.twitter.com/SpcEVwqox7</a>

Two weeks later, Murray's agent Erik Burkhardt released a lengthy—and fully capitalized— statement indicating that Murray was seeking a long-term contract extension from the Cardinals. He also noted that he and Murray had already sent a proposal to the organization:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

A statement from Cardinals’ QB Kyler Murray’s agent, <a href="https://twitter.com/ErikBurkhardt?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ErikBurkhardt</a>: <a href="https://t.co/qsWGZIZ0jB">pic.twitter.com/qsWGZIZ0jB</a>

The whole exchange led to natural speculation that Murray might seek a trade if he didn't get that long-term extension, though the Cardinals were quick to douse those flames, with general manager Steve Keim telling reporters this month there was "zero chance" the team would trade the young quarterback. 

And Murray recently indicated that he doesn't want to be traded:

Kyler Murray @K1

I wanna win Super Bowls with the Cardinals, AZ is home. <a href="https://t.co/xwEw42uDBl">https://t.co/xwEw42uDBl</a>

Kyler Murray @K1


Picking up Murray's fifth-year option essentially gives the Cardinals two more years to come to an agreement on a long-term extension with their franchise quarterback, though given the tenor of this offseason, nipping it in the bud before the 2022 campaign would make sense. 

While Arizona's 2021 season ended in disappointing fashion after a 7-0 start, with the team going 1-4 down the stretch of the regular season and losing in the Wild Card Round to the eventual champion Los Angeles Rams, Murray has still played well in his short career. 

The two-time Pro Bowler threw for 3,787 yards, 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 14 games last season, completing 69.2 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 423 yards and five scores. 

Murray is one of the NFL's most dangerous dual-threat weapons, and under Murray and head coach Kliff Kingsbury the Cardinals have improved their record in each of the last three years. Breaking up that relationship never made sense. 

Now, the only question is when they'll contractually extend it, and how lucrative that agreement will be for Murray after Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson, among others, pushed the quarterback market to new heights this offseason.