Kyler Murray finally got his bag. It took a Heisman Trophy, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, two Pro Bowl selections, and three seasons for the Cardinals to drop the $230.1 million contract. The deal worked out to $46.2 million per season for five years, but it took five months. Could that be because the Cards are disrespecting Murray’s intelligence?
Multiple reports on Murray’s contract stated that a mandatory clause was included that Murray does four hours of independent film study. Black gunslingers from Doug Williams to Michel Vick have worked under the hot lights under the constant scrutiny that they are not as mentally proficient as their counterparts.
Murray did discuss film in ways that might have concerned the franchise.
“I think I was blessed with the cognitive skills to just go out there and just see it before it happens,” Murray said to The New York Times in December 2021. “I’m not one of those guys that’s going to sit there and kill myself watching film. I don’t sit there for 24 hours and break down this teaming that team and watch every game because, in my head, I see so much.”
Contracts are about give-and-take. One example from #AZCardinals QB Kyler Murray’s $230.5M contract: There is an addendum that requires 4 hours of “independent study” per game week. It was important to the team making a commitment at that level, thus it was important to Murray. pic.twitter.com/VqrkvoBQLJ
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 25, 2022
Although Murray clearly signed and wanted to remain in the desert, the fact that the team needed a clause specifically about studying is either troubling or a glimpse into Murray’s former lack of preparation.
According to the reported addendum, Murray needs to “complete at least four (4) hours of independent study (as defined below) each week (excluding any bye week) during each playing season (as defined below) during the term of the contract.”
However, all signs point to an apparent feeling of disrespect before being offered the contract. Back in February, Murray did the millennial method of showing his displeasure; he wiped the Cards from his social media accounts. In professional sports, a shot fired that their agent is probably about to seek a trade.
In case that social media move wasn’t loud enough, Murray’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, sent a letter to the Arizona executives expressing Murray’s desire to be a franchise quarterback, except their patience was wearing thin. Except with two more seasons left on his contract, the Cards were in no rush to issue an extension.
Then Murray didn’t attend the organized team activities (OTAs); the Cardinals’ June 14-16 minicamp was considered mandatory, and speculation was high that his patience was running out.
Reports began to surface that the Cardinals thought Murray needed more maturity and leadership for his position.
“I do know they’re looking for Murray to take a step forward in a number of areas,” NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo said on Super Bowl Sunday 2022 on “NFL GameDay Morning.” “We’re talking about maturity, body language on the sideline, having a bigger voice with his teammates, and leadership.”
Now that the big check is here, the Cardinals needed to send another message to Murray that class will be in session for the next five years. Regardless of his methods to prepare for game days, he is now required to put in that mental work.
The way it is set up, it gets deep. The addendum also states that Murray must study material provided by the team to prepare for the whole season. Murray won’t receive credit if he “is not personally studying or watching the material while it is being displayed or played.” If he is distracted by activities like video games, TV, or straight internet surfing, that will also be considered a flag off the field.
The clause is active for Murray when the season begins, the first Monday after training camp until the final game of the regular season schedule and the postseason. Now that the bag is here, it is up to him to decipher the intention of the clause and if the five years will make him better or resentful.