The Arizona Cardinals made Kyler Murray the franchise’s highest-paid player ever before training camp opened, as was Kliff Kingsbury’s plan. The five-year deal could be worth up to $230.5 million but only $160 million is guaranteed. Ian Rapoport reports “there is an addendum that requires 4 hours of ‘independent study’ per game week. It was important to the team making a commitment at that level, thus it was important to Murray.”
The now second-highest paid player in the NFL by average annual salary will not have to put in these hours during the bye week. However, this clause takes effect on “the first Monday after the conclusion of training camp…and ending with the last game on the Club’s schedule, including any post-season games.”
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Specifically, the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner is required to study “the material provided to him by the club in order to prepare for the Club’s next upcoming game, including without limitation any such material provided via iPad or other electronic device. Time spent in mandatory meetings will not constitute Independent Study. Player shall receive no credit for Independent Study for any period during which Player does not personally study the provided material in good faith.”
Furthermore, “for the avoidance of doubt, (Murray) shall not receive any credit for Independent Study with respect to any time periods during which any material is displayed or played on an iPad or other electronic device if (a) Player is not personally studying or watching the material while it is being displayed or played or (b) Player is engaged in any other activity that may distract his attention.”
Examples given were “watching television, playing video games or browsing the internet” while the newly-signed franchise quarterback is supposed to be studying. Failure to adhere to the schedule would mean Murray would be in “default” of the contract.
Rappaport followed up his tweet with a retweet explaining, “Kyler Murray does 4 hours of game studying on his own, anyway. And 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.”
Timeline of Public Contract Negotiations by Kyler, Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals made the postseason for the first time since 2015 with Kyler Murray under center. The 34-11 loss to the eventual champion Los Angeles Rams showed the team how far they were from Super Bowl contention. The sides seemingly started the contract extension negotiations further apart than expected, which lead to some public comments and social media scrubbing during Pro Bowl week.
Murray had to dispel rumors of friction within the team just weeks after the January 17 playoff defeat, saying it was all “nonsense.” Erik Burkhardt, Murray’s agent, tweeted on February 28 a statement declaring “actions speak much louder than words in this business…Kyler remains hopeful that the organization choses (sic) to commit so that he can continue leading the Cardinals to further success and value for many years to come.”
The contract was completed on July 21. Training camp opens fully when veterans report on July 26. The Cardinals have Kyler signed up through 2028.