Kyler Murray

NFC West Notes: Carroll, Murray, Rams

The Cardinals and Seahawks respectively announced Kyler Murray and Pete Carroll tested positive for COVID-19. While coronavirus protocols are absent to start training camp, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes the league in June informed teams anyone who tests positive must isolate for five days (Twitter link). Carroll, 70, is experiencing mild symptoms, according to the Seahawks, who add he will continue to participate in meetings virtually. As for Murray, he will not be required to be moved to the reserve/COVID-19 list. After two years of use, the NFL did away with the virus list this offseason. Murray will remain on the roster but away from the team.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • Murray is no longer contractually obligated to complete a certain number of film-watching hours this season, but the Cards’ issues with their recently extended quarterback’s commitment have surfaced. His off-and-on offseason participation is something the team has certainly noticed, according to SI.com’s Albert Breer, who adds questions about the former No. 1 overall pick’s leadership have lingered as well. The Chris Mortensen Super Bowl Sunday report about acrimony between Murray and the Cardinals — one that labeled the 2018 Heisman winner as a “self-centered, immature finger-pointer” — drove Murray’s camp to demand an extension this offseason. As evidenced by the since-scrapped clause, the Cards do want their franchise QB to commit more to the mental side of the game, per Breer. How the team went about ensuring that will remain one of the more notable matters in modern contract history.
  • Former UDFA Coleman Shelton started two games for the Rams last season, the only two starts in his three-year career, but Sean McVay said (via ESPN.com’s Sarah Barshop, on Twitter) he is in the mix to start at right guard this season. Shelton has worked as a first-team guard and center in practice. The Rams lost Austin Corbett in free agency but also used a third-round pick (which means more to the defending champions than most teams, given their perennial first-round absence) on guard Logan Bruss. The Wisconsin alum joins Shelton and 2020 seventh-rounder Tremayne Anchrum (12 career games; zero starts) in competition to replace Corbett.
  • Although it emerged as a point of contention this offseason, Kyle Shanahan said Deebo Samuel‘s usage as a running back did not factor into his 49ers extension talks.

Kyler Murray Addresses Independent Study Contract Clause

8:15pm: And like that, the clause is no more. Rapoport tweets that the Cardinals have removed the “independent study” clause in Murray’s contract.

“After seeing the distraction it created, we removed the addendum from the contract,” the Cardinals said in a statement (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter). “It was clearly perceived in ways that were never intended. Our confidence in Kyler Murray is as high as it’s ever been and nothing demonstrates our belief in his ability to lead this team more than the commitment reflected in this contract.”

1:25pm: In making Kyler Murray the NFL’s second-highest-paid quarterback, the Cardinals included an independent study clause in his contract. The strange inclusion mandates the fourth-year passer watch at least four hours of film on his own per week during the season, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Understandably, this unusual mandate has generated more attention than the five-year, $230.5MM deal itself. Addressing this matter Thursday, Murray said questions about his film-study habits are “disrespectful” and “almost a joke,” via CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones (all Twitter links).

There’s multiple different ways to watch film. Of course we all watch film. That doesn’t need to be questioned,” Murray said, before declining to answer questions related to the film clause. “I refuse to let my work ethic and my preparation be in question. I’ve put in an incomprehensible amount of time in what I do, whether it’s football or baseball.”

Murray himself has admitted in the past he is unlikely to be a top-tier film studier among quarterbacks, making comments to the New York Times about his habits. Given his importance to the franchise, this December 2021 stance may well have been a factor for the Cardinals during their offseason negotiations.

I think I was blessed with the cognitive skills to just go out there and just see it before it happens,” Murray said, via NYT’s Ben Shpigel, last year. “I’m not one of those guys that’s going to sit there and kill myself watching film. I don’t sit there for 24 hours and break down this team and that team and watch every game because, in my head, I see so much.”

The two-time Pro Bowler declined to say if he was mad about this film-study component of his contract, but the Cardinals going so far as to include it their highest-profile extension reveals at least some level of hesitancy about the dual-threat passer’s commitment. This is not the first piece of atypical language in a Murray contract. His rookie deal protected the Cardinals against a return to baseball, a sport he was ticketed to play — as a top-10 Oakland Athletics draftee — before his 2018 Heisman-winning season changed his career course. That transition has now led to Murray securing a monster extension — one featuring $104.3MM guaranteed at signing.

It is certainly interesting that, despite the reports of the acrimony between the fourth-year QB and the Cardinals dying down, Murray has needed to address this matter after the team made this financial commitment. Generally, talk of discontent between player and team recedes in the wake of big-ticket extension agreements. But it is clear Murray, who has followed up fast starts with suboptimal end-of-season stretches in each of his Pro Bowl years, will struggle to distance himself from this story. The Cardinals, who have never authorized a contract remotely close to this neighborhood, stand to be regularly tied to this language as well.

Details On Kyler Murray’s New Contract Extension

The Cardinals made headlines Thursday with the announcement that they finally came to terms with quarterback Kyler Murray on a five-year, $230.5MM extension with a total guaranteed amount of $160MM. Now, thanks to Mike Florio of NBC Sports, we have a bit more information on the details within the contract

Murray was guaranteed $104.3MM at signing composed of a $29.04MM signing bonus, the 2022 base salary of $965,000, the 2023 base salary of $2MM, the 2023 workout bonus of $1MM, the 2023 option bonus of $36MM, and $35.3MM of the 2024 base salary worth $37MM total. The rest of the $160MM guaranteed amount is guaranteed for injury at signing and is fully guaranteed at certain dates. In March of 2024, the 2025 base salary of $18MM fully guarantees. Murray also has a 2025 90-man offseason roster bonus of $11.9MM guaranteed for injury at signing that fully guarantees in March of 2024. $26.8MM of the 2026 compensation in guaranteed for injury at signing. In March of 2025, the 2026 compensation fully guarantees in the amount of $36.8MM. Finally, in March of 2026, the 2027 base salary of $19.5MM fully guarantees.

There are a number of roster and workout bonuses laden throughout the duration of the deal. In addition to the guaranteed $1M 2023 workout bonus, Murray is due workout bonuses of $1M in 2024, $1.86MM in 2025, $1.86MM in 2026, $1.8MM in 2027, and $1.8MM in 2028. In addition to the guaranteed $11.9MM 90-man offseason roster bonus in 2025, Murray will earn 90-man offseason roster bonuses of $17MM in 2026, $14.19MM in 2027, and $7.7MM in 2028. In 2028, Murray will also be due a $2MM training camp bonus. Not only will Murray earn the annual offseason roster bonuses, the contract is also set up for Murray to earn a per game active roster bonus of $50,000 from the 2024 season through the 2028 season for a potential of $850,000 in each of those five seasons.

From the 2024 season through the 2028 season, Murray can earn two different incentive bonuses worth $750,000 apiece in each season. The first salary escalator activates if Murray records 600 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns in a season. The second salary escalator is based on 70% playing time in the regular season, 70% playing time in the NFC Championship game, and an NFC Championship game victory.

Murray’s total contract value of $230.5MM ranks third for NFL quarterbacks behind Josh Allen (six-year, $258.03MM) and Patrick Mahomes (ten-year, $450MM). Both the amount guaranteed at signing and the total guaranteed amount rank second among NFL quarterbacks behind Deshaun Watson‘s fully-guaranteed five-year, $230MM contract. The average annual value of Murray’s contract is $46.1MM, which also ranks second for NFL quarterbacks behind Aaron Rodgers who recently signed a deal worth $50.27MM per year.

The 24-year-old Murray has started 46 games since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2019, only missing three games last season with an ankle injury while amassing a record of 22-23-1. Murray has improved his standing as a top NFL quarterback each year in the league. After ending the 2019 season ranked as the 19th-best quarterback (according to Pro Football Focus), Murray ranked as the 11th-best quarterback in 2020 and the 9th-best quarterback this past season.

In 2022, with contract decisions now behind him, Murray will focus on furthering the team’s improvement. After improving the Cardinals’ win total from five to eight games in his first two seasons, Murray quarterbacked nine wins in 2021 en route to the team’s 11-6 record, leading Arizona to it’s first playoff appearance since 2015. Unfortunately, Murray and the Cardinals lost their first playoff game in six years and will now strive for postseason success in 2022.

The Cardinals’ offense returns many of its weapons from last year. The team only had to replace two main contributors, subbing out Chase Edmonds for Darrel Williams and losing leading receiver from last season Christian Kirk but replacing him with Baltimore’s leading wide receiver in 2021, Marquise Brown. Arizona faces the difficult challenge of a division that includes the Seahawks, 49ers, and reigning Super Bowl champion Rams, but, with no further financial distractions under center, the Cardinals are set up to continue their annual improvement.

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.

Cardinals, Kyler Murray Progressing On Extension?

The acrimony between Kyler Murray and the Cardinals appears long in the rear-view mirror. Arizona’s franchise quarterback may be moving toward an extension.

Mentioned months ago as eyeing a deal ahead of training camp, Murray may get his wish. Conversations between the Cardinals and Murray’s camp are going smoothly, according to ESPN.com’s Jeff Darlington, who calls an extension ahead of training camp a “very reasonable likelihood” (on Twitter).

Both Michael Bidwill and GM Steve Keim targeted the late-summer window as the time when a Murray extension would most likely happen. Kliff Kingsbury, extended along with Keim this offseason, stumped for a Murray deal as well. This process has been back on track for months. After reports of strife between Murray and the Cardinals and a report before the draft indicating the team had not yet made an offer, Murray said he was not seeking a trade and subsequently reported to OTAs and minicamp. That was interpreted as a sign he and the team were back on the same page. It appears that interpretation was correct.

The Cards have Murray signed for two more years, via a $29.7MM fifth-year option exercised in May, but first-round QBs usually sign their first extensions ahead of their third seasons. Since the 2011 CBA reshaped rookie salaries and timetables, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Deshaun Watson, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Ryan Tannehill (with the Dolphins) proceeded on that course. Lamar Jackson did not, making the Murray negotiations of particular relevance to the Ravens QB.

Murray and Jackson may be the first quarterbacks to go through with extensions in the aftermath of Watson’s fully guaranteed Browns deal; thus, the structures of each extension-eligible passer’s accord could be seminal moments for the QB market. With Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert extension-eligible next year, how the Cardinals’ Murray deal looks will be important for the Bengals and Chargers’ plans.

But Murray, 25 in August, should be expected to land a deal near or beyond the $45MM-per-year point. Four passers are signed for at least $43MM AAV. He represents the Cards’ first homegrown QB with superstar potential since the franchise’s 1988 relocation. Each of the above-referenced QB extensions ran for at least four years, with Allen’s at six and Mahomes’ at 10. With Murray already signed through 2023, it should be expected his next Cards accord will run into the late 2020s. While Murray’s place in the current QB landscape is not yet known, Arizona appears ready to find out while paying him top-tier money.

Kyler Murray Reports To Cardinals’ OTAs

An offseason that injected considerable turbulence into the Cardinals-Kyler Murray relationship continues to stabilize. The two-time Pro Bowler is expected to report for the team’s second set of OTAs, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Murray stayed away from the team for the first round of OTAs last week, but Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes he was back at the Cardinals’ facility Tuesday (Twitter link). The team’s second set of OTAs begins today. With Murray back in the building for the Cards, more signs point to a resolution on a contract the quarterback’s camp wants completed before his fourth season begins. The substance of Murray’s OTA work matters far less than his presence for these voluntary sessions, considering where this situation stood months ago.

After a report of acrimony between Murray and the Cardinals surfaced shortly after their season ended, the dynamic QB removed Cardinal-related content from his social media accounts. His agent then sent out a blueprint outlining extension goals, and an ensuing report indicated Murray did not wish to play a fourth season on his rookie contract. Just about everything since, however, has resulted in some fence-mending between the parties. That trend appears to be continuing with Murray’s OTA arrival.

Although the Murray camp’s hope of an extension coming together before the draft (presumably so more teams would be open to acquiring him via trade) did not materialize, the former No. 1 overall pick said he did not wish to be traded. Steve Keim said last week he foresees an extension coming together this summer. Michael Bidwill slotted the summer as a window a deal could commence, though the owner’s comments came before Deshaun Watson‘s potentially game-changing Browns contract was finalized.

Extensions for Kurt Warner and Carson Palmer notwithstanding, the Murray negotiations will be new territory for the Cardinals. How much the quarterback’s camp pushes for Watson-like guarantees could go a long way toward determining how the next round of extension-seeking passers — a list that includes Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson — will proceed.

Murray will undoubtedly join Watson, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Dak Prescott, Derek Carr and Matthew Stafford as players tied to $40MM-per-year contracts. The extension’s timing has always been the sticking point. Murray is under contract through 2023, via the $29.7MM fifth-year option exercised in May. The Cards extending Murray with two years of team control left would not be out of step with recent QB history, though the post-extension paths of Jared Goff and Carson Wentz do serve as warnings for teams who dive in too early.

The Cardinals made some notable additions to their offense this offseason. Murray will be reacquainting himself with ex-Oklahoma teammate Marquise Brown on the field. The fellow 2019 first-rounder represents the top addition to Arizona’s offense, though the team used a second-round pick on tight end Trey McBride. Those two join an offense featuring DeAndre Hopkins and Zach Ertz as its top weaponry.

Cardinals GM Expects Summer Kyler Murray Extension

With his camp lobbying for a pre-draft extension, Kyler Murray has been expected to use the leverage he has to avoid playing a fourth season on his rookie contract. The Pro Bowl quarterback is skipping Cardinals OTAs, for the time being.

Steve Keim may be on the same page with Murray, at least regarding an extension ahead of this season. During an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, the 10th-year Cards GM pinpointed this summer as a window for a Murray deal.

I just think it’s a timing thing,” Keim said, via AZCardinals.com’s Darren Urban. “Anyone who has done it before has done it anywhere from July to September. No different for us. We know he is under contract for another year and also the fifth-year option [in 2023]. He is our future, we feel that strongly.

“I feel like we’ll be able to get something done this summer.”

While this could be interpreted as more stalling on Keim’s part, with Carson Wentz‘s 2019 extension occurring in early June, Michael Bidwill made a similar timing-related comment back in February. The rest of the recent re-ups for rookie-contract QBs — from Jared Goff to Patrick Mahomes to Deshaun Watson to Josh Allen — have come from July-September. Murray has put more pressure on the Cardinals than any of these passers placed on their respective teams, however.

The dual-threat talent is expected to show for minicamp, and players who stage training camp holdouts under the current CBA no longer can see their fines waived. Of course, players have gotten around this by staging “hold-ins,” as T.J. Watt did last year. That process ran up until days from the Steelers’ opener. Were Murray to avoid participating in training camp until he is extended, that would certainly be a bigger issue than Watt doing so.

A Murray deal this offseason also represents risk for the Cardinals. The Wentz and Goff pacts backfired, and Murray’s play has tailed off in each of the past two seasons. Both of those years featured strong enough first-half production to produce Pro Bowl invites, thus upping Murray’s fifth-year option salary to $29.7MM in 2023, but each ended poorly. The Rams’ wild-card rout of the Cardinals only spotlights the gamble the team would take by extending Murray now. That said, the cost could go up by 2023, and Murray is the kind of homegrown QB talent the franchise has lacked for most of its existence.

Shortly before the draft, Murray indicated he is not seeking a trade. But the Browns’ stunning Watson contract will not help teams like the Cardinals, who may well be the first forced to do a quarterback extension in the aftermath of this. The Ravens’ strange holding pattern with extension-hesitant Lamar Jackson persists, while the Broncos and Russell Wilson might both be willing to wait until the recently relocated QB’s 2023 contract year.

This raises the stakes for the Cardinals, whose largest QB contract remains Carson Palmer‘s three-year, $49.5MM pact from 2014. Murray’s camp may be asking for more than that in average annual salary, making this a fascinating negotiation for a Cardinals franchise that has not seen a quarterback start for more than six seasons since Neil Lomax in the 1980s.

Kyler Murray Skipping Cardinals’ OTAs

The Kyler Murray-Cardinals standoff calmed down around the draft, after the situation escalated in the weeks preceding it. But the Pro Bowl quarterback will stay away from his team while it is free to do so.

As the Cardinals begin their first set of OTAs this week, their centerpiece player did not report. Murray will not attend this week’s set of OTAs, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Given this offseason’s developments, it would be a surprise if Murray showed for the team’s final two sets of OTAs — June 1-3 and June 6-9 — absent an extension.

Although Kliff Kingsbury said he expects Murray to be at the team’s mandatory minicamp next month, all remains quiet on the contract front, Schefter adds. Murray’s camp has applied some pressure on the team to hammer out an extension, first seeking one before the draft. With that in the rear-view mirror, Murray can stay away from the Cards’ workouts for a bit.

While minicamp would be the next notable chapter here, training camp represents the point when this becomes a true stalemate. The 2020 CBA prevents teams from waiving fines for camp holdouts, which would put Murray to a test. The former No. 1 overall pick is attached to a $965K base salary this year, though he is playing out a contract that contained $35MM guaranteed. Murray has a bit more in the bank than most rookie-contract players, making a potential holdout more realistic than it otherwise would. The Cards also picked up his fully guaranteed fifth-year option — worth $29.7MM — for 2023.

For all the drama surrounding Murray’s future in Arizona, the fourth-year passer indicated last month he is not seeking to be traded. But he has long aimed for an extension ahead of this season. The team has kicked the can down the road a bit, with owner Michael Bidwill pointing to recent summer extensions for Patrick Mahomes (July 2020) and Josh Allen (August 2021) as a reason Murray should be patient. Kingsbury said Monday the team has not changed any plans regarding Murray being its long-term QB. The Cardinals, who have had just one quarterback start more than five seasons since relocating in 1988 (Jake Plummer, from 1997-2002), will soon be tested on the extension matter. The Browns’ Deshaun Watson deal made sure of that.

2023 NFL Fifth-Year Option Results

Monday marked the deadline for NFL clubs to officially pick up their options on 2019 first-rounders. Fifth-year option seasons are no longer just guaranteed for injury — they’re now fully guaranteed, which makes these decisions a little tougher for teams.

Nineteen players had their options exercised, a tick up from 14 last year. Here’s the full rundown:

1. QB Kyler Murray, Cardinals – Exercised ($29.7MM)
2. DE Nick Bosa, 49ers: Exercised ($17.9MM)
3. DE Quinnen Williams, Jets: Exercised ($11.5MM)
4. DE Clelin Ferrell, Raiders: Declined ($11.5MM)
5. LB Devin White, Buccaneers: Exercised ($11.7MM)
6. QB Daniel Jones, Giants: Declined ($22.4MM)
7. DE Josh Allen, Jaguars: Exercised ($11.5MM)
8. TE T.J. Hockenson, Lions: Exercised ($9.4MM)
9. DT Ed Oliver, Bills: Exercised ($10.8MM)
10. LB Devin Bush, Steelers: Declined ($10.9MM)
11. OT Jonah Williams, Bengals: Exercised ($12.6MM)
12. LB Rashan Gary, Packers: Exercised ($10.9MM)
13. DT Christian Wilkins, Dolphins: Exercised ($10.8MM)
14. G Chris Lindstrom, Falcons: Exercised ($13.2MM)
15. QB Dwayne Haskins:
16. DE Brian Burns, Panthers: Exercised ($16MM)
17. DT Dexter Lawrence, Giants: Exercised ($10.8MM)
18. C Garrett Bradbury, Vikings: Declined ($13.2MM)
19. DT Jeffery Simmons, Titans: Exercised ($10.8MM)
20. TE Noah Fant, Seahawks: Exercised ($6.9MM; originally drafted by Broncos)
21. S Darnell Savage, Packers: Exercised ($7.9MM)
22. OT Andre Dillard, Eagles: Declined ($12.6MM)
23. OT Tytus Howard, Texans: Exercised ($13.2MM)
24. RB Josh Jacobs, Raiders: Declined ($8MM)
25. WR Marquise Brown, Cardinals: ($13.4MM; originally drafted by Ravens)
26. DE Montez Sweat, Commanders: Exercised ($11.5MM)
27. S Johnathan Abram, Raiders: Declined ($7.9MM)
28. DE Jerry Tillery, Chargers: Declined ($11.5MM)
29. DE L.J. Collier, Seahawks: Declined ($11.5MM)
30. CB Deandre Baker — N/A (released by Giants)
31. OT Kaleb McGary, Falcons: Declined ($13.2MM)
32. WR N’Keal Harry, Patriots: Declined ($12.4MM)

Cardinals Pick Up Kyler Murray’s Fifth-Year Option

Not that it was ever in question, murky extension status notwithstanding, the Cardinals picked up Kyler Murray‘s fifth-year option Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

This ties Murray to the Cardinals through 2023 and would give the Pro Bowl quarterback a substantial raise in that fifth year. Because Murray is a two-time Pro Bowler, he is eligible for the top-tier option price. For 2019 first-round QBs, that comes in at a fully guaranteed $29.7MM.

Murray, 24, should not be expected to play for that salary; the former No. 1 overall pick has been seeking an extension for months. Murray’s camp established a goal of the Cardinals extending the newly extension-eligible passer by the draft. It does not appear the team will comply. This situation has not yet become contentious, however, with Murray sending out multiple tweets affirming his desire to stay in Arizona.

Murray’s contract now including the 2023 season gives the Cards leverage, but the threat of a holdout by the 2018 Heisman winner could significantly affect Arizona’s preparations for the coming season. The 2020 CBA made holdouts more difficult to wage, but it does not seem Murray will be willing to play next season on his rookie contract. He is set to make $965K in 2022.

Extending standout QBs before their fourth seasons has been the norm, with Lamar Jackson being the exception among recent first-rounders. The upcoming Murray talks also represent the Cards’ first major negotiation with a homegrown quarterback since they relocated to Arizona in 1988, raising the stakes a bit for a franchise that has seen outside additions — Kurt Warner, Carson Palmer — be its top modern-era passers. With the sides having yet to begin negotiations, this saga figures to last deep into the offseason.