Kyler Murray Rumors: QB Unlikely to Play Without New Contract; Carr-Type Deal Likely

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 18, 2022

FILE - Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) warms up before an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood, Calif., Jan. 17, 2022. The Cardinals appeared to be one of the more stable franchises in the NFL just six months ago. That changed a little after a late-season collapse and a passive-aggressive contract spat between Murray and the team’s front office brought some drama to the desert. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File

Although the trade rumors have mostly faded away, the situation involving Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray remains unsettled heading toward the 2022 NFL season.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Wednesday that Murray "won't be too eager to play this season" under a contract that's scheduled to pay him $11.4 million in salary and bonuses.

League executives see the two-time Pro Bowl selection seeking an extension a little north of the three-year, $121.5 million deal signed by the Las Vegas Raiders' Derek Carr in April, per Fowler.

Murray generated headlines in February when he removed references to the Cardinals on social media.

The 2019 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year downplayed the meaning behind that in March, saying an Instagram scrub was common.

"If you're a kid my age, you're used to like—people take off—that's just a thing," Murray told reporters. "Honestly, like I said, I took everything off of it except for one picture. It had nothing to do with the Cardinals or anything like that."

The pictures of him wearing Cardinals gear have since returned to his Instagram page.

Meanwhile, Arizona general manager Steve Keim said in April there was "zero chance" Murray would be traded before the new season, adding the team would revisit his contract situation over the summer.

"Nothing has changed in terms of him being our long-term and short-term quarterback," Keim said.

Murray is coming off a 2021 season in which he completed 69.2 percent of his throws for 3,787 yards with 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions across 14 appearances. He added 423 rushing yards and five scores on the ground.

The 24-year-old Texas native ranked seventh in ESPN's QBR (57.3) and received a strong 84 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

Despite that high-end regular-season success, he became the focus of criticism after throwing two interceptions and failing to record a touchdown in the Cards' 34-11 wild-card loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

It was Murray's first postseason start in his third NFL campaign.

Arizona isn't under much time pressure to extend the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner. Along with his team-friendly cap figure for 2022, the front office already picked up its fifth-year option for 2023 and would have the franchise tag for a year or two beyond that, if needed.

So the only way for Murray to gain significant leverage in contract talks would be a holdout ahead of a season in which the Cardinals hope to take another step toward title contention.

If no deal is reached over the next few months, the key question will become whether he's willing to sit out into the regular season until an extension is finalized.