Kyler Murray Opens Up About Criticism from Study Clause in Cardinals Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 29, 2022

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Arizona Cardinals star Kyler Murray tuned out the discourse centering around the "homework clause" in his five-year, $230.5 million extension.

"I’ve been through a lot. Honestly, me being who I am, I was kind of born on that, don't let outside noise affect me," he said to The MMQB's Albert Breer. "And I feel like I've done a pretty damn good job of that my whole career, my whole life. That was nothing new. Nothing new. I’m a 5'10" quarterback, I get s--t for my size. But, no, I’m not fazed by it one bit. I’m gonna continue to do my thing."

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported July 25 the Cardinals inserted a clause into Murray's contract that required him to complete four hours of independent study outside of normal team activities. That portion of the deal was subsequently scrapped.

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>

Still, the damage was done by that point. Fans had plenty of questions in the aftermath of Rapoport's report, chief among them whether Murray was doing the kind of work behind the scenes you'd expect of a franchise quarterback.

One presumes this had been a point of contention for the Cardinals, otherwise they wouldn't have put the wording into the contract in the first place.

An interview Murray gave to the New York Times' Ben Shpigel last December provided more ammunition for his critics.

"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."

The two-time Pro Bowler told reporters on July 28 he thought the wider discussion about his level of dedication was "disrespectful."

Jonathan Jones @jjones9

Kyler Murray is having a surprise press conference where he says the fallout from the homework study clause has been "disrespectful" and "almost a joke."

Jonathan Jones @jjones9

Murray: "There’s multiple different ways to watch film. Of course we all watch film. 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."

The 25-year-old has shown flashes of brilliance, but it's impossible to ignore how he seems to struggle more as the season progresses.

Kyler Murray Monthly Splits

  • September: 10 games, 286.2 yards per game, 15 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 88.3 quarterback rating 
  • October: 14 games, 249.3 yards per game, 24 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 105.0 quarterback rating 
  • November: 6 games, 240.2 yards per game, 11 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 99.7 quarterback rating 
  • December: 13 games, 238.2 yards per game, 17 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 83.9 quarterback rating 
  • January: 3 games, 196.7 yards per game, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 100.1 quarterback rating

Sports are a results-based business, so the narrative around Murray will be shaped largely by what he does on the field.

Whether it's an accurate portrayal or not, doing more of the same is likely to further the narrative that Murray isn't committing to hitting his full ceiling in the NFL.

However, the general skepticism toward his game could be put to bed if he goes out and has a monster year in 2022.


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