Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Kyler Murray’s baseball agent said last week that Murray will not play pro football, and his decision to play Major League Baseball is “already done.” But even done deals can get un-done. Especially when there are millions of dollars at play.
And with Murray, who has already signed a $4.6 million contract to play for the Oakland A’s, there’s a clear way for him to get out of the deal. According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, Murray’s contract with the A’s includes a provision that lays out how he would forgo salary or repay his signing bonus if he chooses to play in the NFL.
That makes sense: You can’t take a signing bonus and then say, “Just kidding, I decided not to play.” Contracts that include signing bonuses routinely include language requiring the recipient to repay part or all of it if he walks away from the deal.
But if Murray is a high first-round draft pick, he can easily forgo the full $4.6 million baseball contract and still come out ahead. If Murray is the NFL’s first overall pick he’d get about $33 million guaranteed, and if he’s the last pick in the first round he’d get about $10 million guaranteed.
And even Boras, the baseball agent who previously insisted that Murray was dead set on playing baseball, has softened that stance somewhat. Boras said today at baseball’s winter meetings that while he still expects Murray to play baseball, the option to play pro football does exist.
“When you win the Heisman Trophy, you’re going to have a lot of information come to you and be looked at,” Boras said. “All I know is that Kyler has a tremendous opportunity to be a great baseball player. He knows that.”
Ultimately, Murray will have very good options in both sports. It’s not realistic to think he could be a two-sport athlete like Deion Sanders or Bo Jackson, because playing quarterback in the NFL is a 12-month-a-year job. But whichever one he picks, there’s every reason to think he’ll succeed.