The Arizona Cardinals heard the wide-ranging backlash and have amended Kyler Murray’s newly signed contract to strike out the ‘Independent Study’ clause. The franchise’s highest-paid player ever was inked to a five-year deal that could be worth up to $230.5 million before training camp but only $160 million is guaranteed. Ian Rapoport reported the clause required four hours of extra game study per week and it “was important to the team making a commitment at that level.”
“After seeing the distraction it created, we removed the addendum from the contract,” the Cardinals said in a statement. “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.”
The move means the NFL’s second-highest paid player by average annual salary will not have to contractually put in the extra hours However, the quarterback refuses to let his “work ethic be in question…To think that I can accomplish everything I’ve accomplished and not be a student of the game and not have that passion and not take it seriously, it’s disrespectful and almost a joke.”
Former safety Rashad Johnson took to Twitter after the news broke calling the clause “a flat out joke.” He added, “but really who’s surprised with the (Arizona Cardinals) that really know the organization.” The eight-year veteran questioned those who “didn’t think it would be a bad look.”
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Johnson played in Arizona for seven seasons, starting 51 out of 100 games and snatching 15 interceptions. He first signed as a restricted free agent in 2010 and again re-upped with the team in 2013 on a three-year deal before departing for Tennessee Titans in 2016. He played one season then retired.
Rappaport followed his original reporting to explain “similar to the team wanting him around for the offseason as the face of the franchise, (Arizona) wanted a commitment in writing while going to a certain place money-wise. Thus, the clause.”
Relationship Damage Done Going Into Training Camp
The Arizona Cardinals and Murray provided plenty of headlines during the eventful offseason contract negotiations. The Independent Study clause just added to the saga. Fox Sports reporter Nick Wright believes, “this is the mark of an unserious organization…I think it will be a storyline for the Cardinals throughout the year, and unfortunately, it could follow Kyler further.”
Wright’s colleague Chris Broussard added, “this could become a footnote. But if Kyler Murray plays poorly and the Cardinals have a bad season, they could eventually have to divorce.” Andrew Brandt questioned the Cardinals insisting on a clause “saying their adult quarterback could lose up to $150M in guarantees for not doing team-monitored homework every week for the next 7 years. What exactly did they intend?”
Skip Bayless chimed in with a short tweet to apologize, “Sorry, Arizona Cardinals: Too late for that. The damage is done, to you and to him.”