Rob Maaddi, FISM News
Kyler Murray got the gigantic contract he wanted before ever winning a playoff game.
The Arizona Cardinals agreed to terms with the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback on a contract extension that keeps Murray under contract through the end of the 2028 season. The team announced the new deal Thursday. ESPN reported Murray’s contract would be worth $230.5 million, with $160 million guaranteed.
Murray’s average annual salary of $46.1 million is second only to two-time reigning NFL Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers, who gets $50.3 million. Deshaun Watson’s contract with the Cleveland Browns averages $46 million annually and the Kansas City Chiefs gave star Patrick Mahomes an average of $45 million per year.
Watson’s $230 million fully guaranteed is the only deal in NFL history with more guaranteed money.
Murray, the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick in 2019, led the Cardinals to 11 wins and a playoff berth last season after going 13-18-1 in his first two seasons. But the Cardinals finished 1-4 after a 10-2 start and were eliminated by the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the wild-card round.
Murray has completed nearly 67% of his passes through 46 career games for 11,480 yards and 70 touchdowns. He also has 1,786 yards rushing and 20 TDs on the ground.
Generously listed at 5-foot-10 and 207 pounds, Murray’s size and ability to endure hits have been questioned, but he has only missed three starts and has consistently shown his dynamic playmaking ability.
Murray’s future in Arizona was uncertain following an ESPN report on Super Bowl Sunday that said: “Murray is described as self-centered, immature and finger pointer, per sources. Murray is frustrated with franchise and was embarrassed by playoff loss to Rams and thinks he’s been framed as the scapegoat.”
This came after Murray had unfollowed the Cardinals on Instagram and removed all but two photos from his Instagram account. The team then removed all photos from their own Instagram account except one from the night Murray was drafted and another from the Pro Bowl.
A month later, however, Murray said, “I’ve done nothing but give my all to the Cardinals and will continue to do that. I’m not really too worried about my future as a Cardinal.”
All seems to be forgiven now as Murray is locked in as the face of the Cardinals for the foreseeable future since the team made him one of the richest players in NFL history.
Murray now faces more pressure to win in the playoffs. So does fourth-year coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Murray and the Cardinals will start the season without star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who was suspended six games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. They were able to add receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown in a trade with Baltimore on draft night, in an effort to give Murray and the offense more weapons.
Murray is the first player in NFL history with at least 70 touchdowns passing, 20 TDs rushing, 3,500 yards passing, 400 yards rushing, and 17 games with a completion percentage of at least 70% in his first three seasons. His overall completion percentage of 66.86 is the best for a player in his first three seasons.
Murray’s new contract is further proof he made the right decision in choosing football over baseball.
The Oakland Athletics picked him ninth overall in the 2018 MLB draft and he agreed to terms with the A’s and received a $4.66 million signing bonus. Instead, Murray entered the NFL draft in 2019, was selected first overall, and hasn’t looked back.