Murray, who has reportedly been described as self-centered, immature and a “finger pointer” by members of the Cardinals organization, is entering his fourth year in the NFL and is eligible for an extension to his rookie contract. Per a lengthy post from his agent on social media, Murray wants to ink that extension before the season because he “absolutely wants to be” Arizona’s long-term quarterback and “desperately wants to win the Super Bowl.”
Though the statement from agent Erik Burkhardt references “a detailed contract proposal” outlining what Murray is looking for, it doesn’t offer any specifics. However, it does put pressure on the Cardinals to get a deal done that is “in line with the current quarterback market” but lowers Murray’s 2022-23 salary cap number so the team can re-sign “other deserving teammates and add additional free agents.”
“Actions speak much louder than words in this volatile business,” the statement says. “It is now simply up to the Cardinals to decide if they prioritize their rapidly improving, 24-year-old, already 2x Pro Bowl QB, who led the organization from 3 wins before his arrival to 11-wins and their first playoff appearance in 5 years.”
Despite Murray’s wishes, the Cardinals do not have to extend him before this season as his rookie contract includes a fifth-year option the team can exercise to keep him through the 2023 season. And, after that, the franchise tag is always a possibility. That said, it sounds like Murray would consider holding out if his demand for a new deal is not met.
“Kyler Murray is due about $5.5 million in 2022 in the fourth year of his rookie contract, and if today’s statement from his agent didn’t make it clear enough: I do not expect him to play for $5.5 million if an extension with the Cardinals doesn’t materialize,” per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.
A former No. 1 overall pick, Murray was named Rookie of the Year and has been an above-average quarterback during his three seasons in the NFL. But the former baseball player is also somewhat undersized for a long-term starting QB in the NFL and has had difficulty playing at a high level down the stretch as the weather gets cold and the bumps and bruises pile up. That trend was clearly evident during Arizona’s playoff loss to the Rams, a 34-11 beatdown that saw Murray end up with a 40.9 passer rating and a passing line of 19-of-34 for 137 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a score by Los Angeles.
In the end, Murray will probably get his money. But the decision to pay him is not a no-brainer and there’s certainly a chance Arizona will try to get Murray to play out the season and then decide whether to extend him or not. If the Cardinals decide to go that route, expect plenty of discontentment in the desert once training camp rolls around.