Over the first two months of the NFL season, it looked like Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals would have the inside track to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. We know that didn’t come to fruition, and the second half of the year was pretty much a disaster for the Cardinals, based on how strongly they started out of the gate in September. It’s being reported that the Cardinals want to see more leadership out of Murray, which obviously brings up a matter of maturity. Murray’s even gone so far as to remove any mention of the Cardinals from his social media.
Other reports coming out of the Cardinals camp aren’t too encouraging, either, if you’re a fan of the team. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Murray pretty much took himself out of the playoff loss to the Rams toward the end of the game.
“The playoff game [in Los Angeles] a minute left, the game had been decided, backup Colt McCoy encouraged Murray to finish the game with his teammates,” Garafolo said. “A banged-up Murray said no, that’s it, I’m done.”
Murray was also described as “self-centered, immature and (a) finger pointer.” Obviously, the team isn’t too happy with their franchise QB right now. But Arizona’s end of the year collapse can’t be blamed solely on Murray. What about head coach Kliff Kingsbury? His team faded in the second half of the season two years in a row. Shouldn’t there be more heat on him for the team being unprepared down the stretch in consecutive seasons?
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Oh, but Kingsbury isn’t the one who’s going to be in line for a huge payday in the next year or two. Murray just completed the third year of his rookie contract. This means he essentially has two years remaining on his rookie deal. Next season, Murray’s base salary will be $965,000, then the team has a choice of picking up his option for 2023 and letting him play it out before becoming an unrestricted free agent after the 2023 campaign. Or the Cardinals can sign Murray to a long-term deal before Murray gets anywhere close to free agency.
Come on, people, let’s not be naïve; this is all about money and the fact that Murray will likely be in line for a $200 million payday. Seems like the Cardinals are getting cold feet about whether Murray should be their guy moving forward. If Kyler’s maturity level is a question, I get that.
Scrubbing your social media of anything team-related is very Generation Z, so I can understand how that comes off to older adults within the Cardinals organization. But I don’t think it really means much of anything. He’s upset, but he’ll get over it. Arizona released a statement in response to the reports:
“Nothing has changed regarding our opinion and high regard for Kyler Murray,” it reads. “We as a team and Kyler individually have improved each year he’s been in the league. We are excited to continue that improvement in 2022 and are excited that Kyler Murray is the quarterback leading us.”
So, the team’s opinion of Murray hasn’t changed, yet reports are leaking about his leadership, maturity, and finger-pointing. Somebody wanted this out in the open. And based on the reports, it sounds like someone’s opinion within the franchise has indeed changed on Murray. Otherwise, these reports wouldn’t be made public.
We could see another Baker Mayfield or Dak Prescott situation beginning to unfold. Prescott eventually got his big-money deal, while Mayfield is still in prove it mode for the Browns. If Murray wasn’t already rethinking his decision to go with football over baseball, he probably will be soon.