Kyler Murray will need to provide clarity to his football aspirations

Getty Images

His baseball agent, who has a clear financial interest in Kyler Murray playing baseball, says that Kyler Murray already has decided to play baseball. Murray has said otherwise. Now, Murray needs to realize that, if he wants to play football, he needs to say so, sooner than later.

While some league sources believe that Murray could be taken in the first round of the 2019 draft thanks to his accuracy, velocity, and foot speed (despite his lack of size), it’s clear that, until it’s clear that Murray will fully embrace football, he won’t maximize his draft stock.

Thirty three years after the Bucs wasted the first overall pick in the draft on Bo Jackson, who’d made it clear he was choosing baseball, no one will want to throwaway a high-round pick on a wing and a prayer that Murray will decide that he has been drafted high enough to choose football. Teams will want the choice to be made before the draft, and they’ll want his actions (i.e., full and complete participation in the pre-draft process) to speak more loudly than his words.

The problem, given the recent comments from Scott Boras, is that teams may not trust Murray, if he now says that he wants to play football. And if what Murray really wants is to ride the fence for as long as possible, deferring a decision until he knows where and how high he’ll be drafted, Boras has complicated that significantly by pulling Murray toward baseball.

Murray can always try football later. But that won’t help anyone who drafts him in April. The rights last only until the next draft, at which time Murray would re-enter the pool. If he were drafted again, that team would hold his rights for another year, at which time Murray would become a free agent.

Generally speaking, it makes more sense to pick baseball over football (yeah, I said it), if all things are equal. Murray’s success this year, capped by the Heisman Trophy and a chance to win the national championship, could make Murray think that he has a better chance to become a star in football than in baseball. With the top of the quarterback market exceeding $30 million annually, Murray could become the exception to the “always choose baseball” rule, since he potentially could make more money playing quarterback than centerfield.

In theory, Murray could give baseball a couple of years to see whether his career blossoms in a way that would make football irrelevant. If it doesn’t, Murray could then try football, but he’d definitely be entering the NFL with far less fanfare and a far tougher path to a starting job than the one that comes with the investment of a first-round draft pick.

Still, it’s unclear whether he’d be a first-round pick. One source pointed out that research would be needed on his passes batted at the line of scrimmage. Another source said that teams haven’t spent time doing that and other research because Murray is apparently committed to baseball. Another source said Murray would definitely be a first-round pick, if he chooses football. Yet another said it’s way too early to assess Murray’s football draft stock, and that the first challenge will be to figure out whether the baseball talk is serious or leverage.

So if Murray truly wants to play football, he needs to say so. Until he does, he definitely won’t be drafted as high as he could be.

26 responses to “Kyler Murray will need to provide clarity to his football aspirations

  1. Winning a Heisman doesnt improve his outlook in the NFL. Hes simply too small but to considered a first round pick, which means hes goin to get alot less right off the bat in the NFL. Add in the higher risk of long term health issues and Baseball is still the smarter choice.

  2. Jackson didn’t turn down the Bucs because he wanted to play baseball. He turned down the Bucs because then owner Hugh Culverhouse intentionally ruined his eligibility to play his senior season for Auburns baseball team, which sent him over the moon.

  3. “In theory, Murray could give baseball a couple of years to see if his career blossoms in a way that makes football irrelevant”.

    This is your answer. Kyler can always go to football in a couple of years if baseball is not working out. In contrast, he will be way too far behind in baseball if he goes football first.

    Kyler has a guaranteed baseball contract for $5+ million. He can afford to take a couple of years to assess his baseball future.

  4. Just to clarify, it wasn’t that Bo Jackson necessarily chose baseball over football. Hugh Culverhouse( Bucs owner) knowingly screwed Bo out of his last year of baseball eligibility at Auburn by flying him on his private plane. No would have played football that first year if ANY team but Tampa Bay has drafted him.

    It seems Murray is thinking about playing both sports professionally.

  5. Why is the decision factor defined on where he can make the most money. He can make a fortune doing either. Why shouldn’t he pick the one he wants to play?

  6. Murray is getting a lot of attention with this football or baseball thing but it may end up costing him a lot of money. Money or attention? That decision will drive him even more crazy.

  7. It would appear Scott Boras is trying to subvert the decision making process. Murray may be drafted by an NFL team but Murray might truly be better served by a dual agent if one exists. Boras appears to try to cast subtle shade at nfl choosing Murray with a high enough choice for equal money to be a deciding factor. Top choices in the nfl are too valuable to throw away. Risk involved with any pick. Size speed etc can not be accurately be the determining factor. Intangible skills also can not necessarily be predetermined and translated into stardom. Factor in an agent saying publicly a player is not interested heighten the risk involved.

  8. Prob more the agent’s just ramping up hype – and publicity, as much for himself as for Murray.

  9. Just do the Drew Henson thing. Get a couple of years of high salaried baseball play in and if doesn’t work out, go to the NFL with cash in hand while pursuing his other professional aspiration. This way he can do both while maintaining long term financial viability. Just be better than Drew though.

  10. Actually, the smart thing for him to do would be to see what team drafts him and in what round. Then decide if he wants to play football.

    If that organization is a mess, forget it. Play baseball.

  11. learysdisciples says:
    December 9, 2018 at 8:57 am
    He doesn’t need to do anything to satisfy you.


    Some smart guy somewhere, sometime, once said never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.

  12. Murray can retain his option to play football without committing to either sport by making his intentions clear. He can say, for instance, that he will play football if he is drafted in the first round. That way, a team has assurance that he will sign if drafted and Murray will have assurance that the team is serious about his prospects before he commits. If he can persuade the teams that he will actually follow through, they can feel comfortable drafting him.
    He can get around the “sit out a year” issue by declaring that he understands the risk a team would be taking and that he unilaterally announces that if he signs at a later date, it will only be for the team that drafted him. The NFLPA and agents wound hate it, but it’s his life and if he wants to have teams seriously consider him in the draft while not giving up the option to play baseball for now, this is his best path.
    Also, alonestartexan and kmgpop are absolutely right about why Bo Jackson refused to sign with the Bucs. He’d have signed with anyone else.

  13. I’m not going to say he cannot play QB at that size, but he most definitely cannot play both sports professionally like Bo, Deion, etc. QB is the one position that cannot miss a game or practice and no baseball team is going to be ok with a guy leaving the team before the season is over or at least the playoff picture decided. He’ll have to choose one or the other or turn himself into a slot receiver

  14. For the people that are saying he is too small to play QB, its sad that they hold this outdated view about how a QB needs to be a certain height and weight to magically be able to play the position. He does everything you look for in a QB. He is tremendously accurate, whether short, intermediate or deep passing, he leads his receivers to the ball and throws with anticipation. He has a big arm but also adjusts his velocity on the ball (ala Pat Mahomes) which shows his advanced feel for the game. He has an ultra quick release and he also senses pressure very well and does a great job of rolling out or stepping up in the pocket to avoid getting hit or sacked. Also, he is very quick and also very elusive on the ground and has not allowed himself to get hit in the run game. This leads me to believe that everything that is in his control regarding injury prevention, he’ll do. Trying to predict injuries in the NFL is extremely stupid, freak injuries happen all the time, the heaviest and biggest QB’s like Luck, big ben and Wentz have already missed significant time due to injuries. Yeah, if he goes to a team that puts him under centre 70% of the time behind a bad oline and makes him execute 7 foot drop backs on a constant basis then yeah, his likelihood of injury will increase. Now, place him in a creative offensive system where he is executing the RPO and gets the ball out quickly, this kid can be a big time QB. Let’s not forget about the rules protecting the QB these days, I have yet to see a big hit/sack that is clean and has injured a QB this year. The NFL is changing. He would be a great fit on the Giants with Barkley, OBJ, Engram.

  15. Sure, pick the very highest salary you can find, and compare Murray to that. He’s a stretch to play football. It’s a huge stretch to play QB. It’s beyond reasonable to think he’d play it at a high enough level to command $30 mill a year.

    Baseball, by any dimension used, pays more than football. It’s not even an argument.

  16. I don’t know how good a baseball player Murray is. He is a decent passer, but his size will most likely limit him in the NFL. He is smaller than Brees and Wilson, and those guys are an exception to the rule when it comes to size.

    Either way, he is better off playing baseball if he is great at baseball. There is far less likelihood that he gets hurt. As violent as football is, he might only play one game and suffer an injury that keeps him out of professional sports for the rest if his life .

  17. I believe that Murray is listed at 5-10, 185; and that’s likely a stretch, as players size is often exaggerated a bit. I don’t know of any QB that small that has had long-term success in the NFL.

    Murray might be an exception that proves the rule due to his impressive talent, but I would doubt it. Also don’t know if any NFL team would take the chance of making him a #1 pick at that size, regardless of his abilities? There would just seem to be too much risk…

  18. No one in the NFL has a 1st round grade on a 5’10”, 180lb QB. Because of that and because he is unlikely to grow 2″-3″ nor add 40lbs to his frame he would be best served to focus priorities on baseball. Go make millions in the MLB and keep your health intact.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.