Kyler Murray’s contract shows Arizona Cardinals still don’t trust him


For Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals, embarrassment cannot be easily brushed off as a mis-concept in the contract. The independent film studies addendum withdraws from Murray’s new $230 million deal. However, a broken trust is evident, scattered everywhere, and in an organization full of front-runners, the damage can be irreparable.

After three years of working with their 24-year-old franchise quarterback, the Cardinals were not so confident in Murray’s professionalism that he could resist taking the shocking step of putting his desire to subtly manage his preparation in writing. Can you Murray had already shown signs of disillusionment with the Cardinals prior to this contract negotiation after realizing that he had taken too much of the blame for Arizona’s latest downfall last season. The team and its most indispensable player may have a piece of paper that can keep them together for six more years, but this is no fairy-tale sports marriage.

This is a trading arrangement that would be foolish on both sides to give up too soon. The Cardinals have one of the most coveted assets in football: a young, versatile quarterback who can take offense. Murray, the first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, plays for a coach who has known him since high school and in an offense that best suited his dual-threat abilities. With his five-year extension, he will be among the league’s highest-paid players starting next season. The stars are always in a hurry to sign that lucrative second contract. Yet for all the protection the deal gives to Murray and Arizona, the relationship seems so fragile.

Candace Buckner: Kyler can’t play today, guys. He has to complete his homework.

They may try to use fan and media reaction to the leak of that short-lived homework segment as a source of their frustration, but that won’t hide the real problems. The Cardinals don’t trust their quarterback. Murray can’t trust a franchise that insults him like this. And on the field no one can trust this team, as it has put up its worst performance during the most critical times under coach Cliff Kingsbury.

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When Arizona paired Kingsbury with Murray and then traded for game-changing wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins a year later, general manager Steve Keem thought he was in alignment with a team built around a creative and powerful offense. . Well, how about that for alignment? Going into the 2022 season, the Cardinals have a moderate head coach, a troubled quarterback and a star receiver serving a six-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. There is slackness and dissatisfaction in the work.

On Thursday, after his study addendum became public, Murray met with Arizona journalists and expressed his disappointment about being a slacker.

“To think I can accomplish everything I’ve achieved in my career and not be a student of the sport and not have passion and not take it seriously is disrespectful, and it’s almost a joke,” said Murray. Said, which became number 1. , 1 pick despite concerns that, at 5-foot-10, he was too young to be a top-tier player. “As for me, I’m flattered. I want to flatter you all think that at my size, I can go out there and prepare for the game and not take it seriously. It’s my teammates. It’s a disgrace to all the great athletes and great players involved in this league. This game is very tough. The position I play in this league is very difficult to play.”

Murray focused on the public criticism, but it was a way to show just how hurt he was without destroying the team. Arizona had rewarded him with a life-changing amount of money, but it came with a caveat. And now the whole world came to know about it. Many considered it to be a character flaw.

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Over the course of a week after The Athletic wrote a story in which unnamed league sources derided former MVPs Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, it felt like an open season over the achievements of the black quarterback, who graced the game with his exciting brands of football. Is. Such negative connotations are ridiculous and informative, because they show how difficult it would be to achieve lasting change in a sport that still makes black quarterbacks respected rather than as the standard bearer in an evolving sport.

“Obviously, the black quarterback has struggled to stay in the position that we are in the league to play for so many people,” Mahomes said. told reporters After being referred to as playing “streetball” in an anonymous quote. “Every day, we are proving that we should have played full time. We have people who can think as well as they can to use their athleticism. It’s always weird when you see people like me, Lamar, Kyler get along the way when other people don’t. But at the same time we are going out every day to prove to ourselves that we can be some of the best quarterbacks in the league. ,

But it’s also important to look beyond surface-level generalizations here. The anonymous criticism of Mahomes and Jackson was a comment from a reporter from outside sources. In Murray’s case, the Cardinals did the smack-talking, then wrote it down, with rules that specified, among other things, not playing video games. And for some reason, Murray, under the guidance of his agent, still went through with it and signed.

It makes sense that Murray knows he has to mature something. Which is not an indictment at his age. When asked by reporters whether the Cardinals included an addendum to whether he was insane, he did not comment. So he was crazy. But with an offer that guaranteed him over $100 million, he opted for practicality over emotion.

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After the news broke, however, Arizona was looking a lot worse than Murray was. It either handed a young player a monster contract with commitment red flags, or he has yet to understand and appreciate. No matter how you look at it, it doesn’t bode well for a partnership that’s going to last.

As the scrutiny went on, the Cardinals struck at the need for homework.

“After noticing the distraction this caused, we removed the addendum from the contract,” the team said in a statement. “It was clearly perceived in ways that were never intended. Our faith in Kyler Murray is as high as it was before and our confidence in his ability to lead this team is more than the commitment reflected in this contract. Doesn’t even show.

Nice try with that boilerplate defense. The commitment reflected in that contract is one that any other team in Arizona’s position would have offered Murray. At 24 years old, he is a top-10 NFL quarterback. Had he been available in an open market, three-quarters of the league would have gone on a rampage to award him nine points. Contracts are smart business to protect assets, if nothing else.

For Murray and Arizona, trust in each other is priceless. This would require a lot more work. Six more years of this partnership feel like a dare right now. The quarterback prodigy’s contract extension has never felt so disappointing.