Gather around, Arizonans and people from other places: The Cardinal’s chasm is over.
Kyler Murray got what he wanted, and Arizona’s quarterback will be in the hands of the team for many years to come. Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network said Thursday that Murray and the Cardinals had agreed to a five-year deal worth $230.5 million, with $160 million of that amount guaranteed.
Kyler Murray Cardinals agree
The deal lasts until 2028 when Murray will be 31 years old. It ends any doubt about who will play quarterback for the Cardinals and sets Murray up to sign another huge deal if his play is good enough.
THIS IS𝙏𝙃𝙀 KYLER MURRAY EXTENSION TWEET! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/ljfAl8BTRx— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) July 21, 2022
In the end, Murray’s public feud with the Cardinals paid off. He is now the NFL’s second-highest paid player per year ($46.1 million), just a few months after he deleted all references to the Cardinals from his social media and started a story that went on for a long time. The dramatic story, which was a slow-moving standoff with big consequences, took place over a number of months. In February, Murray’s camp released a long (484-word) statement about how they felt about the quarterback’s future, while reports came out from within the team about concerns about Murray’s maturity.
Murray wanted to get paid
Simply put, Murray wanted to get paid, and his team wanted him to show that he was worth the money in the long run.
For a while, it looked like the gap between the two sides couldn’t be closed. Then, when Murray showed up for team activities at the beginning of June, he showed some of the maturity that the Cardinals were looking for.
It was seen as Murray’s “show of good faith,” and it helped him get the new contract he wanted. Now, Murray has to show that he deserves the money.
At his best, Murray is a very skilled quarterback who can break down a defense in any way that he and his coach, Kliff Kingsbury, want. He is an exciting player who is good enough to lead his team to great success. Arizona’s 10-2 start last season wasn’t a fluke.
The best team in the NFL
But Murray and the rest of the Cardinals haven’t played as well as they should have in the second half of the season. After looking like the best team in the NFL for most of the 2021 season, the Arizona Cardinals went into another tailspin and lost four of their last five games, including a blowout loss to the lowly Detroit Lions.
Murray hasn’t quite come out on top when things have been hard. In 2020, he had a lot of health problems that made it hard for him to lead the Cardinals down the stretch. Last season, the team as a whole fell apart. In the team’s last five games, Murray had two games with passer ratings of less than 73, and he was even worse in a blowout loss to the Rams on Super Wild Card Weekend.
By putting money into Murray, Arizona is betting that he will get better in the future, starting in 2022. He’s also not too far from this goal: Murray led the Cardinals to a big win over the Cowboys in Week 16 of last season. He completed 68.4% of his passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns against one of the best teams in the conference.
Murray deal also sets
Arizona just needs to play like that more often as the season goes on and the games become more important. The Cardinals’ decision to sign Murray shows that they think more performances like these are in their future, which they’ll share for most of the next 10 years.
The Murray deal also sets a new market standard for the position at $46.1 million per year, which is likely to have an effect on the important negotiations for Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, a star quarterback. Murray didn’t get a fully guaranteed contract like Cleveland’s Deshaun Watson did (five years, $230 million), but he did take a total that is only $500,000 more than Watson’s.
So, the new benchmark for five-year deals is around $230 million. When Jackson and the Ravens talk about a new contract, the NFL should expect him to ask for that. For now, Jackson is the only star quarterback who doesn’t have a long-term deal with a good salary. We’ll see if this makes Jackson and the Ravens try to come up with a new deal or if they just let him play out his fifth-year option.
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