Kyler Murray has made his decision about whether or not to attend OTAs for the Arizona Cardinals this offseason. Those activities are voluntary and began on Monday, May 23.
Murray’s participation was a point of focus amid the backdrop of his ongoing and uncertain contract status. The quarterback is entering the fourth year of his original rookie deal and wants to get a long-term extension done now, but so far there’s been no movement from the Cardinals.
Things look set to remain at an impasse following ESPN’s Adam Schefter reporting Murray won’t be at voluntary OTAs:
Whether this is a message from Murray and his camp to team officials, including general manager Steve Keim, is unclear. What is obvious is Murray’s absence is sure to only stoke up rumors he and the Cardinals could be headed for an ugly divorce.
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Murray Remains at Loggerheads with Cardinals
This looks like a bad start to what Chuck Harris of Cards Wire called a “pivotal year” for 2019’s first-overall pick:
Things are pivotal because the stakes are so high. Murray has helped revive the franchise since he was drafted, taking the Cardinals from 3-13 to the playoffs in just three seasons.
The quick turnaround is likely one reason why Murray and his agent, Erik Burkhardt, believe a contract extension is in order now. So far, the Cardinals have been reluctant to meet this demand, and the lack of activity is becoming a problem.
Schefter’s colleague Jeremy Fowler reported “the expectation leaguewide is Murray won’t be too eager to play this season without a new deal.” Murray’s decision to no-show at OTAs begins to look ominous in this context.
As to what any new contract might look like, Fowler noted “many NFL execs consider Murray in the same QB pantheon as the Raiders’ Derek Carr, who recently got a $121.4 million extension over three years. Perhaps Murray can get slightly more per year due to age (24 to Carr’s 31) and a higher ceiling.”
Murray definitely has the upside Fowler described. He’s a dual-threat signal-caller who can beat defenses with his arm and legs. Murray is also one of the best deep passers in the NFL, per PFF:
The talent is clear, but Murray is still a quarterback without a winning record, having gone 22-23-1 as a starter, according to StatMuse. Murray is also yet to register a playoff victory.
Those numbers mean Murray still has a lot to prove, so getting his offseason started right would’ve helped.
Murray Sending Wrong Message
Opting out of OTAs looks like a message from Murray, at least for Cardinals beat reporter Johnny Venerable:
If that’s the case, it’s the wrong message. Murray needs to avoid more drama in an offseason that’s already had too much furore.
Things started when Murray scrubbed his social media of mentions of the Cardinals back in February. Burkhardt piled on later that month with a statement outlining his client’s desire for “long term stability.”
Murray appeared to put an end to speculation in April, when he tweeted: “I wanna win Super Bowls with the Cardinals, AZ is home.” Things haven’t moved on since then, though, despite Keim saying there’s “zero chance” Murray will be traded.
The whole situation would look better if Murray was in attendance and working with his teammates from the jump. Especially since the supporting cast around him will undergo a fair amount of transition this offseason.
Wide receiver Christian Kirk and running back Chase Edmonds found new homes in free agency, while go-to target DeAndre Hopkins is suspended for the first six games for PED violations.
The Cardinals did trade with the Baltimore Ravens for Murray’s former college teammate, Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown, during the 2022 NFL draft. They last played together in 2018 at Oklahoma.
Putting in some early work would help Murray reconnect with Brown and establish a stronger rapport with returning veteran A.J. Green and second-year playmaker Rondale Moore.