Cardinals’ GM Has Unusual Challenge for Kyler Murray’s Agent

Steve Keim and Kyler Murray

Getty Steve Keim would meet Kyler Murray's agent inside a steel cage.

Steve Keim is confident the Arizona Cardinals will get a deal done with Kyler Murray this summer, even if it means the general manager squaring off against the quarterback’s agent in a cage match.

Keim appeared on The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, May 25. The conversation naturally focused on the situation with Murray.

Arizona’s franchise quarterback wants a new long-term contract sooner rather than later. It’s a desire his agent, Erik Burkhardt, has pursued aggressively this offseason.

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Keim knows how he and Burkhardt can resolve things, and took inspiration from McAfee’s appearance at Wrestlemania 38.

Keim Has a Combative Approach for Dealing with Burkhardt

McAfee began the segment by referencing the statement Burkhardt tweeted back in February. It was explicitly worded to highlight Murray’s value to the Cardinals and why the franchise should pay up:

There was nothing subtle about the way Burkhardt called on the Cardinals to prove their “ultimate goals align with” Murray’s. The ball was firmly thrown into Keim’s court.

McAfee asked where the Cardinals and Murray stand after a fraught offseason of back and forth public lobbying over his next deal. Keim responded by calling Murray “our future.”

The expectation the Cards’ front office can solve the problem “this summer” might be overly optimistic to some. Especially given Murray temporarily scrubbing his social media accounts of any mentions of the team back in February. The 24-year-old has also opted against attending voluntary OTAs, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Yet despite the bleak context, Keim is staying upbeat because of his “good relationship” with Burkhardt. Keim did admit Burkhardt also representing Cardinals’ head coach Kliff Kingsbury is “a little unusual.”

Then the GM offered the following suggestion to McAfee: “As big a wrestling fan as I am, and congrats on Wrestlemania, I was thinking maybe you’d set up a cage match between me and Burkhardt.”

Obviously the idea was floated in jest, although it left McAfee pumped and in no doubt there’d only be one winner. The former Indianapolis Colts’ punter appeared at the marquee pay-per-view event of the WWE back in April, pinning Austin Theory, before “losing” to company chairman Mr. McMahon.

It’s unlikely Keim and Murray’s rep’ will need to be encaged in the squared circle to settle their differences. The less gruelling solution, physically at least, will be to give Murray everything he needs to succeed this season and earn his next big payday.

Keim Has Improved Murray’s Supporting Cast

The process of giving Murray what he needs, at least on the field, has already begun in earnest. Keim got the ball rolling by trading a first-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens during this year’s draft for wide receiver Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown.

Keim explained to MacAfee the thinking behind doing a deal to acquire Murray’s college teammate at Oklahoma:

The reference to Brown’s talent as a vertical playmaker is telling because Murray is one of the most effective deep passers in the league. He’s the highest-graded QB by Pro Football Focus on throws of 20 yards or more since 2020.

Brown’s arrival is also timely because Murray’s go-to target, DeAndre Hopkins, is suspended for six games due to PED violations. His absence will be offset by Brown joining A.J. Green and second-year man Rondale Moore.

Keim re-upped Green during free agency, along with tight end Zach Ertz and running back James Conner. The latter will share carries with another new arrival, former Kansas City Chiefs’ back Darrel Williams, whose deal was reported by Jordan Schultz.

As’s Kyle Odegard pointed out, Williams’ ability as a receiver out of the backfield will be an asset in Kingsbury’s offense:

Add in tight end Trey McBride, the Cards’ top draft pick this year, and Murray has enough weapons around him to prove he merits a new contract. The burden of proof should be on a quarterback who has been dynamic at times, but ultimately has compiled a 22-23-1 record over three seasons and is yet to win a playoff game.

Keim made a point of stating Murray is “under a contract for another year and also the fifth-year option.” It’s the Cardinals who have the leverage, and if Burkhardt doesn’t like it, he can step into the cage.

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