Kyler Murray declared for 2019 NFL Draft as leverage in new contract negotiations with the Oakland A’s.
Kyler Murray will never have it this good again and he’s milking the moment for all that it’s worth. After he wrapped up his Heisman Trophy-winning season with a loss in the College Football Playoffs, most assumed that he would finally put down the pigskin and commit to a life of baseball.
Not so fast. Murray declared for the NFL Draft today and his sports journey gets a bit more complicated again.
Murray signed a $4.66 million signing bonus after Oakland took him with the ninth pick in the 2018 draft. The A’s allowed him to return to the University of Oklahoma, where he shattered Baker Mayfield’s records and improved his stock as an NFL quarterback. Even at 5-foot-9, Murray seems to have the scouts excited and projecting him as a first-round pick.
Murray has decided to use his potential NFL Draft status as leverage towards renegotiating his deal with Oakland to include more up front money. Reports say, Murray’s team is commanding a contract in the $15 million range.
According to a source close to the situation, Kyler Murray’s number is $15M.
He wants big time money to stick with baseball, otherwise he will enter the NFL draft tomorrow.
The A’s are doing everything they can, sending their top brass, led by Billy Beane, to meet with him.
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) January 13, 2019
Whatever the price, if the A’s don’t comply, Murray now has the option of playing pro football.
Kyler Murray has until midnight ET to declare for the @NFL Draft. Here's my guide to what today's deadline means — and the overall context of his football/baseball decision as of this morning: https://t.co/HqjvEn3b1a @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 14, 2019
That’s just stone-cold gangsta.
No more gangsta than John Elway getting Denver to open up the bank so he doesn’t miss his calling and choose pro baseball or Eli Manning forcing a 2004 Draft Day trade to the Giants rather than play in San Diego — but Murray is proving to be a ruthless and shrewd businessman in this endeavor.
The fact that Murray signed a minor league contract, not a MLB contract, would allow Oakland to tender him an MLB contract for the amount he desires if they choose. So, the A’s would put Murray on the 40-man roster in order to pay him, but he would return to the minors until he’s ready.
Clarifying the Murray news: MLB technically would not be waiving a rule for Kyler Murray. The rule prevents major league contracts for drafted players. Murray signed a minor league contract. A major league deal would be like him being selected onto the big league roster.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 13, 2019
Some people might have an issue with Murray trying to renegotiate a contract he already signed, but that’s the way the game goes. You have to strike when you’re hot.
There’s no loyalty in college or pro sports. Murray actually did Oklahoma a solid by returning for his final season and leading them to a Top 5 finish in the polls. He could have taken his millions in baseball and walked away, without risking injury, like so many two-sport phenoms before him.
From last night: Former major leaguers Joe Mauer, Matt Holliday and Brian Jordan all chose baseball over football. In these first-person accounts, they reflect on their own two-sport journeys – and explain why Kyler Murray’s situation might be different. https://t.co/SPSuY1CrF3 $
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 14, 2019
The smart choice for Murray is baseball. If he truly has the tools to make it in the pros, then he can have a lengthy career with low risk of injury. Attempting to play the QB position at his height and size in the NFL will be challenging. Undersized titans like Russell Wilson and Doug Flutie and Drew Brees have proved that in can be done, but you have to have out of this word ability and a supreme, one-track dedication to the craft.
It’s only right that Murray forces Oakland’s hand. Nothing is guaranteed in sports and if he’s to give up a future in football for one in baseball, his celebrity, Heisman stature and other pro options all have to be taken into account when negotiating his worth.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) January 14, 2019
Murray may end up falling short of superstar status in both sports. He wouldn’t be the first guy to flop. Michigan QB Drew Henson was supposed to be a sure-shot two sports star. He kept Tom Brady on the bench in college and signed with the Yankees. He didn’t make it in either sport.
Regardless of Murray’s ultimate choice, he’s making sure he capitalizes on the millions of dollars he made for Oklahoma and the future millions the Oakland A’s organization will make off of his name. His five minutes are not up yet, so he might as well double down on it.