For 24 teams, the 2019 NFL offseason is already here.
But if there's any break in this busy world, it won't be a long one. It's hard to get in a long vacation when the coaching carousel is in full spin and draft preparations are dominating most to-do lists.
It's the offseason that isn't really off, then, which is probably exhausting for those involved but delightful for those who enjoy tracking every inch of movement on the rumor mill.
The latest speculation doesn't disappoint, with two quarterbacks generating conversation and one coaching search potentially nearing its conclusion.
Kyler Murray Expected to Enter Draft?
In June, the Oakland A's spent the ninth overall pick in the MLB draft on Kyler Murray, a speedy center fielder with tons of athletic tools and decent power potential.
But in September, Murray took over as the Oklahoma Sooners starting quarterback and dazzled his way to a Heisman Trophy. Despite assurances from his agent, Scott Boras, that Murray would be headed back to baseball, Murray complicated the decision with his domination. He passed for more than 4,000 yards, ran for another 1,000 and totaled 54 touchdowns.
His future is now up in the air, and the A's expect he will declare for the NFL draft, as sources told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Even that wouldn't guarantee Murray's future is on the gridiron, but one source told Slusser that Murray "is leaning toward football."
If Murray goes the NFL route, he would have to return his $4.66 million signing bonus from Oakland, although he may recoup that money right away from the NFL. Oddsmakers favor him as a first-round NFL pick, setting his over/under at pick 28.5:
As Slusser noted, Murray's biggest decision may be upon us. The A's will report to spring training in mid-February, while the NFL combine begins Feb. 26. Whichever sport he chooses might have to be the one he stays with going forward.
Josh Rosen Staying Put?
Before Kliff Kingsbury became the new Arizona Cardinals head coach, he was USC's offensive coordinator for about a month. Before that, he was Texas Tech's head coach and a huge fan of Murray
How huge, you ask? Well, as Sports Illustrated shared, Kingsbury said in October he was a big-enough fan to make Murray the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft if he could:
Guess which team has the No. 1 pick of a draft that it sounds like Murray could be in: Kingsbury's Cardinals. Arizona traded up to make quarterback Josh Rosen the No. 10 pick of last year's draft. But ESPN.com's Adam Schefter recently characterized the possibility of the Kingsbury-led Cardinals trading Rosen and adding Murray as "not implausible."
But a "high-ranking" Cardinals source told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport there's nothing to this hypothetical series of transactions:
Does that guarantee Rosen will be a Cardinal and Murray won't? Of course not. But considering this rumor started with the "not implausible" classification, this feels like a gigantic long shot. While the 21-year-old Rosen had a rough go as a rookie (11 touchdowns against 14 interceptions), his presence presumably attracted Kingsbury to Arizona.
Bengals Have Coaching Target?
The Cincinnati Bengals have yet to hire their replacement for the ousted Marvin Lewis.
But they have reportedly narrowed down their wishlist down to one person.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback coach Zac Taylor is their preferred candidate, sources told ESPN.com's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen. The Bengals hope to get something done when L.A.'s season ends, the sources said. However, they can't negotiate a deal with the Rams still alive.
The sources added Taylor would like to return to Cincinnati after serving as offensive coordinator at the University of Cincinnati in 2016.
Most recently a member of Sean McVay's rapidly expanding coaching tree, the 35-year-old Taylor also has NFL coaching experience with the Miami Dolphins, with whom he was a quarterbacks coach and interim play-caller. He played quarterback for the University of Nebraska, throwing for 5,850 yards and 45 touchdowns in 26 games.