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Cardinals' Kyler Murray: Independent Study Contract Clause Reaction 'Disrespectful'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 28, 2022

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Arizona Cardinals star Kyler Murray dismissed concerns about his work ethic, a topic of discussion when a notable clause in his five-year, $230.5 million contract was revealed.

"There's multiple different ways to watch film. Of course we all watch film," he told reporters Thursday. "That doesn’t need to be questioned. I refuse to let my work ethic and my preparation be in question. I've put in an incomprehensible amount of time in what I do."

PHNX Cardinals @PHNX_Cardinals

Kyler Murray makes a surprise media appearance to push back on the narrative that he doesn’t study. <a href="https://t.co/KGoDQE05YJ">pic.twitter.com/KGoDQE05YJ</a>

Jonathan Jones @jjones9

Kyler Murray lists his accolades and accomplishments since high school. "Those things you can't accomplish if you don't prepare the right way and take the game serious."

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Murray's deal requires him to complete four hours of "independent study" in weeks when the Cardinals have a game scheduled.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Contracts are about give-and-take. One example from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AZCardinals?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AZCardinals</a> QB Kyler Murray’s $230.5M contract: There is an addendum that requires 4 hours of “independent study” per game week. It was important to the team making a commitment at that level, thus it was important to Murray. <a href="https://t.co/VqrkvoBQLJ">pic.twitter.com/VqrkvoBQLJ</a>

Rapoport added that "Murray does four hours of game studying on his own, anyway."

Still, two questions immediately arose when the clause was made public: If he did it already, why did the Cardinals want to put the "independent study" requirement in writing, and who stood to gain from this getting out?

Murray is understandably upset with how the clause is being perceived, but the reaction outside Arizona was inevitable. It gives the impression he either wasn't putting in the work before or was doing the requisite study yet needs a concrete incentive in order to continue doing so.

ProFootballTalk @ProFootballTalk

The Kyler Murray homework clause is a colossal blunder by the Cardinals. It makes him look bad for not studying enough, and it makes them look worse for giving him all that money even though he wasn't studying enough.

Robert Griffin III @RGIII

Still bothered by Kyler Murray’s situation. He has already had to deal with short jokes his entire life. Some say he looks like a toddler out there running around and now the Cardinals give him a homework clause in his contract. WHAT IN THE READING RAINBOW IS GOING ON IN ARIZONA?

Sarah Kezele of 98.7 Arizona Sports pointed to an interview Murray gave to the New York Times' Ben Shpigel last December that doesn't exactly help his case.

"I think I was blessed with the cognitive skills to just go out there and just see it before it happens," he said. "I'm not one of those guys that's going to sit there and kill myself watching film. I don't sit there for 24 hours and break down this team and that team and watch every game because, in my head, I see so much."

Murray is unquestionably talented, and his ability to improvise sets him apart from many of his peers. You think you have him pinned behind the line of scrimmage and he pulls a rabbit out of the hat.

Arizona Cardinals @AZCardinals

HOP CAUGHT IT!!!!!!!! <a href="https://t.co/lyAG9gWYPn">pic.twitter.com/lyAG9gWYPn</a>

But it might not be a coincidence his passing yards per game have steadily declined across each month throughout his career. He has averaged 286.2 yards across 10 September games to 238.2 yards in December and 196.7 yards in January.

As opposing teams inevitably adjust to Murray, he and the Cardinals aren't making the same kind of tweaks.

That could be more a reflection of head coach Kliff Kingsbury, whose teams teams in college and the NFL have consistently faded down the stretch.

The Cardinals had to know what would happen, though, when they included a "please, do your homework" condition in the nine-figure deal they signed with their franchise quarterback.

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