Whenever Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt is involved, you already know it’s going to be legendary.
That is the case on March 29, as the personality-filled Pro Bowler took to social media and gave the Cardinals fanbase a re-assuring update on a hot topic.
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Watt Sends Message
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has been the center of attention throughout the 2022 NFL offseason.
Murray, 24, has one more year left on his rookie contract and is eligible for a contract extension. That led to Murray’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, releasing a lengthy statement concerning a contract proposal.
A little more than a month later, Watt tweeted a video of himself and Murray in the background at the Cardinals training facility.
You can sense that Watt is being playfully sarcastic to any naysayers who think Murray doesn’t care about the Cardinals or isn’t putting any work in the offseason.
The month of March was relatively quiet on Murray’s front. But finally on March 24, Murray had already come out and profounded his love for the Cardinals organization.
“I’m an Arizona Cardinal. I’ve done nothing but give my all to the Cardinals and will continue to do that,” Murray said. “I’m not really too worried about my future as a Cardinal.”
Things felt really low for the young quarterback when ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported on Super Bowl Sunday that the vibes between Murray and the Cardinals were “indeed alarming” and said the quarterback was “frustrated” with the franchise. The next day, Murray responded on social media saying, “All of this nonsense is not what I’m about.”
Yet, at the end of the day, Murray’s camp wants a contract extension, especially since coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim received extensions through the 2027 season.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said on March 2 that Murray is on “their radar in a big way.”
“Quarterback deals generally happen later,” said Rapoport. “My sense is the Cardinals would want to wait until these deals happen a lot of times like Josh Allen happened at training camp last year. They happen closer to August or maybe July. It does seem like Kyler Murray is on their radar in a big way. It just hasn’t happened yet and that’s the next priority for the Cardinals.”
Kingsbury and Murray entered the league in 2019 in which they’ve seen their wins increase in three seasons — five, eight and 11.
Murray’s agent, Burkhardt, happens to be the same agent for Kingsbury.
Kingsbury Speaks on Late-Season Collapses
The Cardinals have seen themselves fade in the second half of the last two seasons. In 2020, Arizona started 5-2 before losing six of nine, including a Week 17 loss that ended the season missing the playoffs with an 8-8 record.
While the Cardinals started 7-0 in 2021, the Cardinals had another skid and loss four of the last five games to finish at 11-6. The NFC West was controlled by the Cardinals throughout the year, only for the Rams to win the division and later stomp the Cardinals in the NFC Wild Card round.
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury spoke at the NFL annual meeting on March 29 about how the team will address the late-season difficulties.
“I think this year, we played really well early, had some injuries, different things that I could’ve done a better job of adjusting the offense,” Kingsbury said. “And that’s what we’ve done — just trying to address how we practice later in the season, how we strategize, different things like that to try and be better in that final stretch.”
Kingsbury answered questions on Murray and is hopeful concerning the quarterback’s future with the team.
“We are in a great spot with him,” Kingsbury said. “I know that [statement] was what it was, but nothing has changed from our end. We’re excited about his future and want to make him an Arizona Cardinal for as long we can.”
There is some context on the Cardinals slide in 2021. Murray suffered an ankle injury and missed three games and the Cardinals lost star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in December to a season-ending knee injury.
Despite the roadblocks in 2021, Kingsbury thinks there is another level that Murray can take in 2022.
“It’s tough — last year you lose your No. 1 receiver the last month,” Kingsbury said. “I don’t care who you are at that position. But I think he’s gotten better and better each year. I think he’s never had an offseason, really. We had the covid stuff the last two years. So I think this offseason, just continuing to grow in who he is as a person, leader, all those things — I expect him to take the next step.”