Front Office Commentary

Was Kyler Murray’s Extension a Mistake for Arizona? One Former NFL Executive Thinks So…

After an extensive negotiation between Kyler Murray, his agent Erik Burkhardt, and the Arizona Cardinals, a five-year extension has been agreed upon that will give $230.5 million to Murray. The deal includes $160 million guaranteed with an average of $46.1 million per year, making Murray the second-highest paid quarterback in terms of average annual salary, only behind Aaron Rodgers’ $50.3 million per year salary. Murray is now tied to Arizona for six more years, which is until the 2028 season.

Murray still had two years left on his rookie deal, but he had a sense of urgency to get the deal done now.

Former NFL executives Joe Banner, Rick Spielman, and Mike Tannenbaum spoke with The 33rd Team to discuss their thoughts on the extension.

Former Eagles President, Joe Banner talked about the early nature of the deal and believes that the extension was beneficial to both the Cardinals and Kyler Murray:

“Kyler’s very aggressive approach to negotiating his contract extension two years early paid off. The deal is just where it should be from an average perspective but does not serve to solidify the fully guaranteed precedent created by Watson’s recently completed deal. Still a win for both sides in my opinion.”

The Cardinals are rolling with Kyler Murray as their franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future and he still has lots of potential for growth, but there is also a lot more to be desired in terms of his play late into the season. Kyler has yet to win a playoff game with the Cardinals, but he is still only 24 years old.

Former Vikings GM Rick Spielman notes that Kyler Murray still has a lot to prove in the NFL:

“He (Kyler Murray) is very good for the first three quarters of a season, but from December on, I don’t think he has a winning record. He looked out of sorts in the playoff game. I understand the talent and athleticism, but when you are putting him up there in that top tier, you want to make sure when it’s December he is winning games for us. That has yet to be determined. Them giving him this contract I think they believe that or else they wouldn’t have given it to him. He has to go out there and prove it.”

Mike Tannenbaum sees the concern relating to Murray’s play as well, and thinks the Cardinals might have made a mistake by giving him top-tier money:

“I think Kyler Murray signing for $46 million a year and making him the second-highest paid quarterback is a mistake. If you look at his statistics, most of them have not changed materially from year 1 to year 3. He hasn’t taken that sizable leap like Josh Allen has. While I think he is a good player, I don’t see him as the second-best quarterback. I think they paid him about $5 million per year too much.”

It will be interesting to see if Kyler can make a Josh Allen-type leap in 2022, and whether he can improve his play down the stretch to a level that is expected with the kind of deal that he is getting.

The true domino effect of this signing relates to Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. Similar to Murray, Jackson has been in limbo with contract negotiations with his team. Jackson is likely going to view Murray’s extension as the floor for what he expects with his deal. Jackson is a former league MVP while Murray has yet to top 30 passing touchdowns in a single season. The Lamar Jackson extension is looming.

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