Report: Kyler Murray MLB contract has provision to pay back bonus, play in NFL

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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, 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.

10 responses to “Report: Kyler Murray MLB contract has provision to pay back bonus, play in NFL

  1. “But whichever one he picks, there’s every reason to think he’ll succeed.”

    Great college kid, but he’s barely 5’10” and 175lb. At least Russell Wilson is thicker at 5’11” and 215lb to take the punishment.

    And the list of successful Heisman-winning QBs in the NFL is short. In fact, better chances of being a bust like the last 30 years – Andre Ware, Ty Detmer, Gino Torretta, Charlie Ward, Danny Wuerffel, Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Jason White, Matt Leinart, Troy Smith, Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, RGIII, Johnny Manziel (too early to rate Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Lamar Jackson & Baker Mayfield).

    Only Carson Palmer and Cam Newton has had a “successful” career.

  2. Charlie Ward never played in the NFL, so he can not be labeled a bust. As a matter of fact, he went straight into the NBA where he had a successful 10-year career with the New York Knicks and then retiring after 2 more seasons with two other teams.

  3. Well, Doug Flutie was only 5’10” also. People thought Spud Webb at 5’7″ was too short to play Division I basketball and he had a pretty good career in the NBA. If you can play you can play. Numbers don’t mean much. There are plenty of QBs with the right measurements who were terrible NFL QBs. Remember, Tom Brady had a terrible draft assessment too. If he’s a high first-round pick he’s still going to get a ton of money–enough he’d never have to work again. And there’d still be time for baseball.

    One more thing. Is Scott Boras a licensed NFL agent? My guess is he’s not. That means of course he wants Murray to play baseball. He wants to get his piece of the pie.

  4. It’s all smart business. The kid has 4.6 million in his pocket, guaranteed. If he has to give it back to get 10-30M guaranteed, well, that’s kind of a no-brainer, IF he chooses to play football. Just smart business, not rocket science.

  5. I’d bet he eventually says something like…..If I get drafted in the 1st. round in the NFL then I’ll play football.
    Let’s see how he plays QB in the college playoffs.

  6. Kyler, please, please, please don’t listen to people nostalgic for the 80’s and 90’s and try to play two sports. Playing one sport well is difficult, playing two is all the more difficult. A quarterback needs to make that role his full-time, year-round commitment if he hopes to succeed in the NFL. Playing baseball requires different skills that can’t be left alone without practice for months at a time. One more thing, Kyler…if you have an aptitude to play baseball WELL, stick with it. In the long run, you’ll earn a LOT more money and be able to walk after your playing days are done. It makes me cry whenever I think about Bo Jackson playing football and injuring his hip. He had special talent to play both football and baseball, but if he had stuck with baseball, he would have been a perennial All-Star for 15 years or more, he would have made a ridiculous amount of money, and would have been a first-time Hall of Famer. I’m convinced of that.

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