With the 2022 season rapidly approaching, teams across the league have started their OTAs. A couple of the more intriguing storylines to watch in the NFL are the Arizona Cardinals and the Kyler Murray contract situation. While they started off hot last year, the 2021 Arizona Cardinals season eventually came to a disappointing end in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Now, with two seasons left on his rookie deal, the time most teams look to lock up their former first round picks, the team finds themselves trying to extend their franchise quarterback. If not, the Kyler Murray contract situation could cast a dark cloud over the 2022 Arizona Cardinals season.
Where Does Murray Rank Amongst NFL Quarterbacks
One of the challenges facing the Cardinals when it comes to extending the Kyler Murray contract is determining where he ranks amongst other young quarterbacks in the league. Patrick Mahomes has an MVP and a Super Bowl, Lamar Jackson has his MVP, Joe Burrow led his team to a Super Bowl loss, Josh Allen has his Bills as the betting favorite in Vegas and Justin Herbert has quickly become a fan favorite across the league.
Meanwhile, at times Murray looks to be just as dynamic as the other names listed. He’s improved his accuracy each season while hurting teams with both his arm and his legs. He built instant chemistry with All Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, has one of the more memorable Hail Mary throws in recent history.
At other times, he looks too small to be a successful NFL quarterback. Last year, he missed three games with a left ankle sprain and didn’t look like the same dynamic quarterback that played the first half of the 2021 Arizona Cardinals season. The team limped to the finish line, losing 5 of their last 9 games, including a bad loss against the Detroit Lions. In a disappointing playoff loss, Murray struggled throwing one of the worst pick-6s in recent playoff memory.
While Murray is certainly a talented quarterback, his extension will likely fall short of the mega-deals signed by Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. However, quarterbacks do typically demand high salaries and the lack of top-tier quarterbacks to reach free agency usually leads to massive paydays. Teams like the Carolina Panthers or Washington Commanders would be thrilled to submit a best offer for Murray.
Looking at a Kyler Murray Contract Extension
The first step when looking at the Kyler Murray contract extension will likely be waiting for a resolution on the Lamar Jackson contract situation. Jackson came into the NFL a year before Murray and theoretically should see an extension before Arizona addresses the Kyler Murray contract.
Lamar was late to arrive to the Ravens offseason program however he is back with the Ravens as he enters the final season of his rookie deal. After this year, the Ravens could elect to tender the Franchise Tag to Jackson for the next couple of seasons, however, that would likely lead to a holdout from the former MVP.
Instead, it is likely that the Ravens and Lamar agree to an extension this season or send Lamar to another organization. While a trade is very unlikely, the new team would likely extend Lamar immediately after agreeing to the terms of the deal. The new contract could help to reset the quarterback market and serve as an outline for Arizona and Murray.
After Lamar gets his deal, all eyes will turn to Kyler. With the Arizona Cardinals season set to begin in under 3 months, chatter has already started in Arizona around an extension. Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury recently stated that he wants the Kyler Murray contract resolved by training camp, well before the start of the Cardinals season.
With camp likely to begin around the last week of July, time is running out on getting an extension done with Murray. If a deal can’t be struck by week 1, the lack of extension will certainly be a storyline hanging over the Arizona Cardinals season.