3 Instant Reactions to Kyler Murray's Reported $230.5M Cardinals Contract

Adam WellsJuly 21, 2022

INGLEWOOD, CA - JANUARY 17: Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray #1 during the NFC Wild Card playoff game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams on January 17, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Arizona Cardinals fans can rest easy knowing that Kyler Murray isn't going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, the two-time Pro Bowler has agreed to a five-year, $230.5 million extension that includes $160 million guaranteed.

The deal keeps Murray under contract to the Cardinals through the 2028 season. It also ends any drama about a potential divorce between the two sides after he deleted all references to the organization from his Instagram earlier this offseason.

Pulling back the curtain even further, here are three quick thoughts that came up in the wake of Murray reportedly getting his long-term deal done.

Murray Was Never Going Anywhere

After the Instagram drama, there was a report from ESPN's Chris Mortensen on Feb. 13 that Murray and the Cardinals were "at odds" over how the 2021 season ended.

According to Mortensen, Murray was "frustrated" at being made the scapegoat for the Cardinals' performance in their 34-11 playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Mortensen noted some people with the Cardinals felt Murray was "self-centered, immature and someone who points fingers."

It's not unusual for criticism to emerge after a once-promising season devolves into an embarrassment on a national stage like the playoffs. Arizona looked like a potential Super Bowl contender in the first half of the season with a 7-0 record.

Murray was playing at an MVP level during that stretch with 2,002 passing yards and 20 touchdowns (17 passing, three rushing).

After missing three games with an ankle injury, Murray wasn't quite the same player. The former No. 1 overall pick threw for 1,511 yards and had nine touchdowns (seven passing, two rushing) over the final six games.

Benjamin Solak @BenjaminSolak

I find this worrisome! <a href="https://t.co/pZV91PTK4w">pic.twitter.com/pZV91PTK4w</a>

The Cardinals finished the season 4-6 over their final 10 games before the playoff loss to the Rams.

There are certainly things both sides can improve on going forward. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has a track record of poor finishes dating back to his time in college at Texas Tech.

But any franchise with a 24-year-old quarterback who has played as well as Murray has already was never going to do anything that would let him get away.

The Stage is Set for Lamar Jackson

The two biggest quarterback contract dominoes standing coming into the day were Murray and Lamar Jackson.

Now that Murray's deal is agreed upon, all eyes will turn to Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.

It's unclear where things stand between Jackson and the Ravens. The 2019 NFL MVP told reporters last month the two sides have talked, but he was keeping the nature of those discussions private.

If Jackson's plan was to wait out the market as long as possible to maximize his potential earnings, it couldn't have worked out better.

The 2019 season was Murray's rookie year and Jackson's first full year as a starting quarterback. The Ravens star has a higher quarterback rating (100.1 to 93.9), more passing touchdowns (78 to 70) and yards per attempt (7.6 to 7.3) over the past three seasons.

Kimberley A. Martin @ByKimberleyA

Dear Lamar Jackson,<br><br>Let me be your agent pls … πŸ˜‚

Jackson's advanced metrics also strongly point out that he is one of the most valuable quarterbacks in the NFL.

Eric Eager πŸ“ŠπŸˆ @PFF_Eric

taking out scrambles, sneaks, etc. here are the NFL leaders in yards before contact on rushing plays 2019-2021 (incl. playoffs):<br><br>Notice Lamar Jackson's efficiency and volume. Notice other quarterbacks. Notice J.K. Dobbins. Notice Gus Edwards. Notice other RB w/ mobile QBs. <a href="https://t.co/zTmIzOWMvR">pic.twitter.com/zTmIzOWMvR</a>

Per Joel Corry of CBS Sports, the floor for Jackson's deal should be the $46.1 million per season that Murray is set to make on his new contract.

The only quarterback contracts worth more in total value than Murray is Patrick Mahomes ($450 million over 10 years) and Josh Allen ($258.03 million over six years). Aaron Rodgers is the only player with a higher average annual salary than Murray ($50.3 million).

Whatever deal Jackson ends up getting, assuming it's with the Ravens, it figures to be one of the richest in NFL history.

Murray Chose the Right Sport

There was a time when Murray had to choose between football and baseball. He made history as the first player to be selected in the first round of the NFL and Major League Baseball drafts.

The Oakland Athletics used the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft on Murray. He was a well-regarded outfield prospect.

Prior to the draft, Keith Law on ESPN.com had him ranked as the No. 35 overall prospect in the 2018 class with the potential to be an "above-average everyday center fielder for a team with some patience" because of all the reps he lost due to playing football.

A's scouting director Eric Kubota told reporters after Murray received a $5 million signing bonus from the club that the deal allowed him to play quarterback at Oklahoma for the 2018 season.

Murray's football career took off at that point. He won the Heisman Trophy after throwing for 4,362 yards, running for 1,001 yards and accounting for 54 touchdowns (42 passing, 12 rushing).

After the Cardinals selected Murray with the top pick in the 2019 NFL draft, it became 100 percent clear that his future was on the gridiron.

Let's say, hypothetically, Murray debuted for the A's in 2020 after spending two years in the minors. He would be earning minimum salaries as a pre-arbitration player and wouldn't be eligible for free agency until after the 2025 season, when he would be 28 years old.

Instead, Murray's average annual salary on his new contract is worth more than the A's are spending on their entire payroll this season.

Dalton Johnson @DaltonJ_Johnson

The A's payroll is basically $43 million <br><br>Kyler Murray is making $46.1 million per year <a href="https://t.co/qp0QkXot5T">https://t.co/qp0QkXot5T</a>

Even if Murray had flamed out in the NFL, his rookie contract will pay him $65.4 million if you include his $29.7 million salary for 2022.

Sports Illustrated's Robert Klemko reported in April 2019 that the A's made an effort to convince Murray to keep playing baseball by offering him $14 million in guaranteed money on top of his original signing bonus.

Elvis Andrus is the only A's player this season making at least $14 million and only seven players are making at least $1 million.