Kyler Murray signed a contract with the Oakland A’s that had a $4.66 million signing bonus. Murray was the No. 9 draft pick in the 2018 MLB draft. Murray’s signing bonus was slightly below the $4,761,500 typically associated with the No. 9 pick, per MLB.com.
If the Cardinals select Murray at No. 1, his NFL contract is projected to be worth $34,912,834, per Spotrac. Part of Murray’s contract with the A’s stipulated he could play one year of college football at Oklahoma, which in a weird way played a role in the quarterback ending up in the NFL. Murray outperformed expectations this season at Oklahoma and worked himself up draft boards to become a first-round pick. Heading into the 2018 college football season, the quarterback was expected to report to the A’s this spring after the season had ended.
“This guy is fun to watch play football,” A’s vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane told MLB.com after they drafted Murray. “I’m looking forward to it, I’m not fearing it, mainly because I think the athletic ability is going to be fun to watch and he’s going to be fine. He’s really fun to watch on a football field, and he’s going to be fun to watch on a baseball field. It’s neat that he gets to do both, and that the country gets to see both, but we’re going to get the best years, and he’s going to have a great baseball career.”
Things took a surprise turn as Murray opted to play football over baseball in 2019.
Murray Had to Repay $1.29 Million of the $1.5 Million He Received From the A’s
Murray’s signing bonus was to be paid in installments, and he already received $1.5 million. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Murray had to repay the majority of the money he received.
“Kyler Murray will return $1.29 million of the $1.5 million signing bonus money the Oakland A’s gave him last year. He forfeits the remaining $3.16 million due March 1. The A’s will put him on the restricted list and retain Murray’s rights, but they don’t get a comp draft pick,” Passan tweeted.
Murray Reportedly Turned Down $14 Million in Guaranteed Money With the A’s
The A’s made one last effort to persuade Murray to keep his commitment to play baseball. According to Sports Illustrated, Oakland offered Murray $14 million in guaranteed money in addition to the $5 million signing bonus.
According to a source close to the family, the A’s contingent that visited Kyler in January offered him a contract worth $14 million in guaranteed cash, in addition to his signing bonus. (The deal would have required that Oakland take the extreme step of adding Murray to its 40-man roster and would have paid out a figure similar to that of a top 10 NFL draft pick. For context, Bears linebacker Roquan Smith, who went eighth in 2018, signed a four-year deal worth $18.5 million.) But Kyler turned down that offer, and his family has kept those financials out of the media.
If things do not work out for Murray in the NFL, the A’s would still have his rights if he decided to return to baseball. CBS Sports detailed how the A’s still have Murray’s pro baseball rights even as he plays in the NFL.
Murray doesn’t get to become a baseball free agent simply because he’s chosen to pursue football. The A’s will retain his baseball rights going forward and he will be placed on the minor-league restricted list indefinitely. Should Murray ever decide to return to baseball, he would have to return to the Athletics. He wouldn’t get to pick his team.