The Arizona Cardinals have provided quarterback Kyler Murray with two top 10 receiving options this season, according to EA Sports. DeAndre Hopkins is the fourth-best receiver in Madden 23’s initial rankings and Zach Ertz is the 10th-ranked tight end.
Hopkins will rejoin the team in Week 7 after serving a six-game P.E.D. suspension. Ertz, who signed a three-year, $31.65 million deal with the Cardinals in March, will be looking to build on his chemistry with Murray after being acquired in a midseason trade. Ertz’s 56 catches in 2021 set the franchise record for tight ends, and that’s in only 11 games after getting traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Cardinals. Murray threw his way 81 times and connected on three touchdowns.
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Ertz “looked refreshed in Arizona. Showed what he can do with capable quarterback play,” an NFC personnel evaluator told ESPN for a story published July 14. “I thought he had lost a step, but he kept getting open.” Hopkins is, according to one veteran coach in a July 13 ESPN story, “still a high-end guy for me because of his ability to battle and make contested catches. If the ball’s in the air, I trust [Hopkins] to get it. Simple as that.”
Still, Hopkins posted career lows in catches and yards last season while dealing with injuries. A sprained knee required surgery on the 30-year-old star, who will not return until the Thursday, October 20, game against the New Orleans Saints.
Kyler Murray Playing for Top 10 Contract
Former Cardinals wide receiver and future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald said “nobody in the game” is as talented as Kyler Murray. However, several reputable sources have ranked the former Heisman Trophy winner outside the elite tier of quarterbacks. It will be another hard-knock season for Murray and the Cardinals if he does not play up to his contract expectations.
Murray was just outside ESPN’s top 10 list entering training camp. EA Sports has yet to rank Murray as a top 10 overall quarterback, but the new edition of Madden 23 QB rankings will be revealed July 22. Judging solely on preseason rankings, the Cardinals signal-caller seems to be most appreciated by the fantasy football community.
Regardless of rankings done by media voices, contract extension negotiations between Murray and the front office are “are going smooth and getting a deal before camp remains a very reasonable likelihood. The drama of February feels long in the rearview,” according to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the talks were “currently in a good place.”
Murray would get long-term security with a new deal before training camp, and coach Kliff Kingsbury said the team is ready to make the emerging star the highest-paid player in franchise history. Jared Goff is the 10th highest paid quarterback going by Average Annual Value. Murray is in line for a bigger payday going by comments from Kingsbury. The Cardinals can at least relax knowing All-Pro center Rodney Hudson will be returning to protect the organization’s cornerstone QB1 for another year.