Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray hasn’t ruled out playing in the NFL, despite having already signed to play baseball with the Oakland A’s. And if he wants to make the better financial decision, that may take him to the NFL.
J.J. Cooper, the Executive Editor for Baseball America who has also written about football, crunched the numbers and came to the conclusion that Murray would likely make more money playing in the NFL.
That’s because, although baseball players make more than football players on average, quarterbacks are the highest-paid players in football and can have careers that last into their late 30s or even their early 40s. A player like Jeff Samardzija, who was a good wide receiver at Notre Dame but quit football to pursue a career as a Major League pitcher, will make much more money in baseball. But a quarterback like Murray is different.
If Murray is a first-round pick, he’ll make anywhere from $10 million (if he goes at the end of the first round) to $35 million (if he goes first overall) on his four-year rookie contract. And if Murray develops into one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, his second contract would be massive. Even if Murray doesn’t become a great quarterback, plenty of not-so-great quarterbacks make a lot of money in the NFL. Matt Cassel has made $60 million in his career; Mark Sanchez has made $74 million.
In baseball, Murray is guaranteed $4.6 million if he goes to the A’s, but beyond that he wouldn’t get a big payday for five or six years, and he wouldn’t hit free agency until he’s 29 or 30 years old.
Add it all up, and there’s a persuasive case to be made that Murray will make more money as an NFL quarterback than as an MLB outfielder.