Before he was the first overall pick of the Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft, Kyler Murray was the ninth overall pick of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Oakland A’s. Then he went on to win the Heisman Trophy, causing him to rocket up NFL draft boards. Even after winning the Heisman Murray initially was reported to be pursuing baseball over football, but obviously that changed when it became clear just how high he’d be drafted. We haven’t heard a ton about his baseball passions since, but he made it clear he isn’t over the game in interviews this past week. “I would love to” play baseball again one day Murray said on The Pat McAfee Show, via Jeremy Cluff of the Arizona Republic. “I think it’s still there because I’ve been doing it my whole life. It wasn’t like I have to turn this off to be elite at football.”
When asked if he could see himself playing football and baseball at the same time one day soon, Murray said “I hope so. I hope so. I mean, I would love to. I think that would be good for everybody … I think it is tough because I play quarterback.” He also added that walking away from Oakland was “definitely the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.” The Cardinals likely aren’t as enthused about the possibility, and it’s specifically in his contract that he’s not allowed to play baseball. Maybe when it comes time for Murray to get a contract extension from Arizona, he’ll look to negotiate a clause that allows him to try his hand at baseball? It’s certainly fun to think about, and I think every fan would be hoping he can become the next Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders.
Here’s more from around the league as we officially turn our attention toward the offseason:
- David Njoku had a rocky season with the Browns, even as the team had their most success in decades. The drafting of Harrison Bryant and signing of Austin Hooper reduced his role on offense, and Njoku demanded to be traded this past summer, then changed his mind on that demand, then apparently changed his mind once again and wanted to be traded in October. Obviously Cleveland didn’t want to deal him, and it looked like everything had more or less been worked out, but Njoku fanned the flames again this past week. “That’s a good question,” Njoku said recently on the Jim Rome Show when asked if he’s in the right spot, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “I’m not going to answer that right now. I have no comment towards that at this moment,” Njoku said cryptically. The 29th overall pick of the 2017 draft added that everything would work itself out in the “near future.” Thanks to his fifth-year option the tight end is under contract for 2021 at a hair over $6MM, although that’s not guaranteed. If they choose to keep him at that number, it sounds like another trade request could be in the cards.
- Reserve/futures deals are non-guaranteed pacts to keep unheralded players a part of a team’s offseason 90-man roster, so they usually don’t come with any bonuses or guaranteed money. When they do, that makes them a lot more notable, and Field Yates of ESPN.com recently tweeted out this cycle’s biggest. Cornerback Grant Haley got $35.7K from the Saints, safety Marqui Christian and cornerback Xavier Crawford got $35K and $31.3K respectively from the Bears, long snapper Dan Godsil got $27.4K from the Bengals, and tight end Tyree Jackson got $25.2K from the Eagles while punter Arryn Siposs got $25K from Philly. All these guys would seem to have a better than normal chance of cracking next year’s 53. Haley saw a lot of run his first two years in the league with the Giants, and was up and down from New Orleans’ practice squad in 2020. If Cincy is giving a reserve/futures long snapper $25K, you’ve gotta figure they think there’s a good chance he’s their guy next year. Jackson is a notable name since he’s the former University of Buffalo star quarterback who has since transitioned to tight end.
- Speaking of relatively minor contracts, Yates also tweeted the details for the recent extensions for Raiders quarterback Nathan Peterman and 49ers long snapper Taybor Pepper. Peterman got a guaranteed $1MM base salary on his one-year deal, a $25K workout bonus, and a max value of $2.775MM with incentives. Pepper got two-years, $2.08MM with an $80K signing bonus and $220K of his $920K salary for 2021 guaranteed. It’s pretty eyebrow-raising to see Peterman get his $1MM guaranteed considering he’s thrown all of five passes the past two seasons, but Jon Gruden clearly loves the guy. This would suggest he’s got a good shot to hold the clipboard for Derek Carr, or whoever is the Raiders’ starter next year.