Cardinals Veteran Says Team 'Created a Monster' with Kyler Murray Contract Extension

Adam WellsJanuary 13, 2023

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 12: Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up before kickoff against the New England Patriots at State Farm Stadium on December 12, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

At least one Arizona Cardinals player doesn't think Kyler Murray's extension signed last offseason was a smart move by the organization.

Speaking to Michael Silver of Bally Sports, an anonymous Cardinals player said the team "created a monster" by giving Murray a five-year, $230.5 million deal.

"Once paid, the veteran said, Murray felt less compulsion to study his game plan or to fulfill the expectations of the franchise QB position than he had in the past, and the Cardinals' collapse felt predictable," Silver wrote.

Murray's extension was supposed to be a proud moment for him and the franchise, but it immediately turned into a nightmare for both parties.

The issues began when it was revealed the Cardinals included an independent study clause that required Murray to study game material on his own time for four hours each week.

Blowback about the clause got so loud that the Cardinals issued a statement announcing they removed it from the contract.

Murray didn't seem to have an issue with the clause as much as the wider discussion that emerged around it, calling it "disrespectful" and "almost a joke."

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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 vibes around the team, particularly Murray and head coach Kliff Kingsbury, during the season rarely felt great. They had a heated exchange on the field during an Oct. 20 win over the New Orleans Saints.

Murray and Kingsbury downplayed the situation after the game. Kingsbury joked Murray told him he "didn't look good on TV acting that fiery."

"The clock was running down and we couldn't have got off the play that we were trying to run," Murray told reporters. "So, it was, I guess it's my fault. I'll take it."

Last month, one Cardinals team source told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler and Josh Weinfuss the relationship between the coach and quarterback was "not good."

"They're cordial," another team source told Fowler and Weinfuss. "It's not the relationship you want from your quarterback and coach."

The Cardinals decided to break up the partnership by firing Kingsbury on Monday after a 4-13 record this season.

Murray's status for the start of next season is up in the air after he tore his ACL in a Week 14 loss to the New England Patriots.

Given how much money the Cardinals have invested in Murray as their quarterback, they will likely exhaust all avenues this offseason to find a head coach who can maximize his skill set.

The 25-year-old has shown tremendous promise in his first four seasons. He led the Cardinals to the playoffs in 2021 after throwing for 3,787 yards, running for 423 yards and accounting for 29 touchdowns.