Cardinals, Kyler Murray Finalize Extension

After a tenuous offseason in which he first became eligible for an extension, Kyler Murray is now on the verge of a lucrative second contract. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Cardinals are “working to close a monster extension” with the former No. 1 pick.

Rapoport adds that the deal will make Murray “one of the NFL’s highest-paid players,” and that is has now been finalized (Twitter link). The team has corroborated (via Twitter) that the contract is in place. The two sides have been negotiating “for weeks” to hammer out terms, and now the process has reached the finish line. The deal comprises a five-year extension, meaning that Murray (who has two years remaining on his rookie contract) will remain under contract with Arizona through 2028. 

Regarding financial details, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that the pact has a total value of $230.5MM, adding that the contract carries $160MM in guaranteed money. At a annual average value of $46.1MM-per-year, this deal makes Murray the NFL’s second highest-paid QB, behind Aaron Rodgers. It also ranks second in terms of guaranteed compensation, trailing only the historic $230MM deal the Browns gave Deshaun Watson, ever dollar of which is assured. Rapoport’s colleague Tom Pelissero adds that Murray will make $69MM over the first two years of the extension, and $106.15MM by year three (Twitter link).

Murray, 24, has been a full-time starter immediately since entering the NFL in 2019. After winning Rookie of the Year honors, he has been named a Pro Bowler in each of the past two seasons. That made a long-term commitment seem inevitable, but tensions have run high between the player and club leading up to this deal.

Back in February, there were reports of acrimony as the window for an extension to be signed was soon to be opened. Weeks later, Murray’s agent issued, in essence, an ultimatum to the team detailing his contributions to the franchise, along with a blueprint for an extension. Things looked bleak in terms of the relationship between the two sides at that point, but the situation steadily progressed as the offseason moved closer to the summer, when a deal of this magnitude was always more likely to be signed.

In June, it came out that an extension being finalized ahead of training camp was quite likely. Now, the Cardinals have their franchise centerpiece in place for the long-term future. Questions about his leadership will no doubt remain, and in fact be amplified, by his rank amongst the highest-paid players in the league. Delivering postseason success will likewise become an even greater expectation with this deal in place. Meanwhile, this contract shows the close link between the value of Watson’s extension and the financial terms Murray ended up agreeing to. It will be worth watching if any Lamar Jackson deal ends up taking on a similar form.

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