On Thursday, the Arizona Cardinals and star quarterback Kyler Murray agreed to terms on a five-year, $230.5 million contract extension.
Suffice to say, Murray's head coach Kliff Kingsbury was happy to see the deal get done.
"He's going to continue to get better," he said on The Dave Pasch Podcast (h/t Ryan Sanudo of SI.com). "The contract deal—I feel really good about. I know he's our future here. The talent is generational in what he can do running with the football."
The Dave Pasch Podcast @PaschPod
🚨 Ep. 33 - <a href="https://twitter.com/AZCardinals?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AZCardinals</a> HC Kliff Kingsbury and <a href="https://twitter.com/DavePasch?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DavePasch</a>.<br><br>- <a href="https://twitter.com/K1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@K1</a> extension<br>- <a href="https://twitter.com/Primetime_jet?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Primetime_jet</a> impact<br>- <a href="https://twitter.com/isaiahsimmons25?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@isaiahsimmons25</a> expectations<br>- Veteran OL group<br>- <a href="https://twitter.com/moore_rondale?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@moore_rondale</a> role<br>- Hard Knocks<br><br>Full <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PaschPod?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PaschPod</a> ⬇️<br>Apple Podcasts: <a href="https://t.co/AdYDw2NnFn">https://t.co/AdYDw2NnFn</a><br>Spotify: <a href="https://t.co/QE6WPnV3zr">https://t.co/QE6WPnV3zr</a> <a href="https://t.co/IZsuKrfF8I">pic.twitter.com/IZsuKrfF8I</a>
While there have been questions about Murray's leadership in the past—the sort of thing a team might be concerned about before handing over a $200 million-plus contract—Kingsbury sees things differently.
"I think everyone's going to have their opinion," he told Pasch. "The kid shows up every day. He came to the worst team (in) football and the worst offense by far, and all he's done is improve every year. He's improved the organization and because he doesn't smile or wave to the camera and all of a sudden he's this villain. He's never gotten in trouble off the field. You've never heard one bad thing from him off the field. At times, there are certain aspects to him that draw criticism. But we're thrilled the progress he's made and where this thing's heading."
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
From <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLTotalAccess?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLTotalAccess</a>: Recapping a big day for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AZCardinals?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AZCardinals</a> QB Kyler Murray shortly after he got the bag. 💰💰💰 <a href="https://t.co/dg7qzi6m8j">pic.twitter.com/dg7qzi6m8j</a>
The 24-year-old Murray is already a two-time Pro Bowler in his three seasons and has led the Cardinals to an improved record in all three of his NFL campaigns. Last season he threw for 3,787 yards, 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 14 games, completing 69.2 percent of his passes while leading the team to a 9-5 record in his starts.
Where Murray separates himself from other players at the position, however, is his dynamic rushing ability when the play breaks down. Across three seasons, he's rushed for 1,786 yards and 20 scores.
The Cardinals reached the playoffs last year, though that lasted just one game, and the Cardinals closed their 2021 campaign with seven losses in their final 11 matchups. It was a tough finish, but still another year of improvement for Murray and the team.
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Kyler Murray will look to end a lengthy drought for the Cardinals franchise. <br><br>The Cardinals haven’t won a championship since 1947, the longest active championship drought in the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL. <a href="https://t.co/narO3mIVDu">pic.twitter.com/narO3mIVDu</a>
But the pressure has changed for Murray after reaching the postseason and signing a deal ($46.1 million AAV) that trails only Aaron Rodgers ($50.2 million) in average annual value.
"You see the market for these quarterbacks and what guys are getting paid," Kingsbury told Pasch. "There's very few (quarterbacks) when you line up every Sunday and say we have a chance. Our guy is one of those that give you a chance. And at his best, I don't know who's better in this league."