Kyler Murray is more than 10 months removed from the ACL tear that ended his 2022 season, and the Cardinals have deemed the former No. 1 overall pick fully healthy. But Joshua Dobbs has been assured he will start in Week 9, either leaving Murray on the reserve/PUP list or putting the two-time Pro Bowler in an unusual role as an active-roster backup.
It would seem likely the Cards will leave Murray on the PUP list, as he does not need to be activated until Nov. 8. Speculation has emerged about a potential trade, seeing as Arizona has a new regime in place that has signed off on a rebuild. Though, Jonathan Gannon has repeatedly said Murray is part of the team’s future.
That does not appear to have changed, despite the talented quarterback’s status as a healthy player who will not play in Week 9. The Cardinals are not shopping Murray, per The Athletic’s Dianna Russini, who adds the team expects Murray to suit up in the next few weeks. While a recent report placed Nov. 5 as a potential return window, Murray’s return date will now be pushed back to at least Week 10.
Murray having signed a five-year, $230.5MM extension last summer undoubtedly affects his trade value, though Russini notes there are teams that could be interested in acquiring the fifth-year veteran. Coming off an ACL tear and meniscus damage, however, Murray has certainly held higher trade value compared to where it would be today. While speculation about the Cardinals drafting a quarterback — particularly if they land the 2024 No. 1 pick — may continue, Murray remains in the Gannon-Monti Ossenfort duo’s plans.
Midseason has loomed as the latest point in which a Murray return would commence. That said, the Cardinals — repeated competitiveness notwithstanding — have plunged into expected territory. Arizona is 1-7. That currently sits as the NFL’s worst record, with the Panthers having won in Week 8 to move to 1-6. We are still a bit away from draft-slot projections mattering too much, but the Caleb Williams rumors stand to intensify if this Cardinals trajectory persists. Murray departure rumors would gain steam in that event, so when exactly the team redeploys its four-year starter will be worth monitoring.
The Vikings losing Kirk Cousins for the season could conceivably make them an interested party, though the Jets — after Aaron Rodgers went down four plays into his Gang Green run — stood down and proceeded with an internal solution. Murray, 26, is also coming off a down year — one that helped lead to Kliff Kingsbury‘s firing. But he also stacked Pro Bowl invites on top of each other from 2020-21.
The Cardinals have given him an extended onramp in new OC Drew Petzing‘s system, but it will also be interesting to see if the team trades away more pieces at this week’s deadline, thus putting Murray in position to return with a worse nucleus around him. A few key variables exist here, but for now, Arizona’s plan still looks to be bringing the Steve Keim-era investment back this season.