A’s not giving up on Kyler Murray, which could complicate his NFL prospects

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When it comes to Kyler Murray’s commitment to football, actions will speak much more loudly than words. The problem for the NFL team that picks Murray could be that his ultimate action — a return to baseball — comes only after a draft choice has been squandered on him.

Yes, Murray says he’s fully committed to football. But with the A’s still committed to pursuing Murray, Murray’s commitment can flip back to baseball just as quickly as his commitment flipped away from it.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Oakland A’s remain determined to sign Murray to a baseball contract. Rosenthal also explains that the A’s have the power to offer Murray a baseball contract over and above his now-forfeited $4.66 million signing bonus, unlimited by the constraints of the NFL’s rookie wage scale.

This means that, as a practical matter, the NFL team that drafts Murray could find itself in a bidding war that it can’t win, because its bids will be restricted to whatever the NFL’s CBA allows for whatever spot Murray is selected in.

Sure, Murray says he’s playing football. Per Rosenthal, the A’s believe the statement posted on Murray’s Twitter account was written by agent Erik Burkhardt as a first step in persuading the NFL powers-that-be that Murray won’t pull a Bo Jackson, who opted for baseball after the Bucs made him the first overall pick in the 1986 draft. While it’s unlikely that Murray would scoff at becoming the first overall pick, there’s surely a floor below which his commitment to football will begin to wane.

When that begins to happen is anyone’s guess. And for the team making that guess, it’s a risk that could be too significant to bear.

That’s why the A’s handling of Murray continues to be brilliant. By not rescinding their rights to Murray but instead remaining steadfast in their interest to employ him, the A’s create what few NFL draft picks ever have: A viable alternative to signing on pro football’s dotted line.

While Murray may be flattered by Oakland’s ongoing interest in him, the reality is that the A’s are doing his football career no favors by continuing to be supportive and patient and possibly ready to give him more money than what an NFL team could offer.

31 responses to “A’s not giving up on Kyler Murray, which could complicate his NFL prospects

  1. It would be brilliant if the Raiders drafted him for no other reason than the city counsel could see one more piece of the puzzle head over to Las Vegas. This one being from the A’s!

  2. In the bio film played during the Heisman show, Murray said he prefers baseball because he finds the game more challenging. Many black former baseball stars have commented on the decreasing numbers of black men playing major league ball, so Murray would be a welcome addition. And he could make his millions with much less risk for developing CTE. Maybe Murray is serious about dropping his baseball dreams for a football future. But I wouldn’t gamble a draft pick on it.

  3. Boras is playing the NFL suckers. Some stupid team, like the Redskins, will draft Murray and then Boras will get the A’s will jack up their offer. Clear as day.

  4. So if the A’s still have his rights, does he not have to pay back the bonus he got? I mean, if he’s truly committed to football he should give it back on principle. I don’t understand MLB’s contract terms as much as I do the NFL’s.

  5. Sooner fan here, he is a tremendous athlete with a great arm but I just can’t see him having the intelligence to become an elite NFL quarterback. Remember, although Baker was small coming in, he was also a football savant when it came to Xs and Os. I don’t get the feeling that Kyler has those same football smarts. I hope I am wrong but just going by what my eyes tell me.

  6. The combine will end all questions. When he measures closer to a midget than an NFL qb we then will know where he gets drafted.

    Not every team wants to play with a moving pocket all the time.

    Drew is the only short pocket passer. All the other vertically challenged QBs are more effective playing sand lot ball.

  7. If Murray can hit he should play Baseball.
    A guy his size with his speed and athletic ability would be a really tough out…and he could play for 20 years and retire with his more of his brains and body intact…if he can hit

  8. He should stay with baseball. He would get more money, less of a beating, and a much longer career. He plain and simply is going to flame out in the NFL. The small flashy quarterbacks that can run are fun to watch, but they do not last, they get beat up by guys just as quick as them and even quicker to figure out how to beat their running ability that until the NFL made them better than everyone else since high school. It wont fly in the NFL. You have to be able to throw the ball, read a defense CORRECTLY, and he wont be able to do it any better than Darnold, or Rosen, or any of the other recent 1st rounders who, despite you wanting to say its too early to tell, you know are not going to be long term stars at their position, if ever. He is at best a sober Manziel, and sobriety would not have helped Johnny.

  9. The NFL rookie wage scale greatly simplifies the potential bidding war. So, it comes down to his NFL draft position, and whether MLB wants to beat his guarantees.

    I’ve seen him projected at #7 if memory serves. Just spitballing here, that should be around $15M-17M in NFL Monopoly money at signing with a 5th year team option around $20M.

    I’d put the MLB matching money scenario over/under at around NFL draft pick/ salary slot #10-12

  10. ” A’s are doing his football career no favors by continuing to be supportive and patient and possibly ready to give him more money than what an NFL team could offer”

    This is something he caused himself by not making his commitment to football much much sooner.

  11. My take is that he only wants to play baseball, and is using football to get more money from the A’s.
    Wouldn’t be smart to draft a 5’9” qb, who may opt for the bigger payday in baseball, with a 1st round pick.

  12. I guess it all depends on where he gets drafted and in what round. I don’t fault the guy for wanting to pursue his dream of being an NFL QB. Personally I think he’s too short but I’m not a talent evaluator. If it doesn’t work out he can always fall back on baseball. Doesn’t russell Wilson participate in winter ball with the Yankees to stay in shape?

  13. I know a lot of people won’t like what Murray is doing but I have no problems. I work a regular 9-5… I would love to have two companies competing to hire me. The funny thing is so would the people who would not like what Murray is doing. Why should the teams always hold all the cards?

  14. A’s probably upset so they’re trying to scare off NFL teams. Best scenario is Murray gets drafted low, decides to go back to baseball and have to sign the same or lower contract. All a win-win for A’s.

  15. Murray made his bed, now he can lie in it. He chose the security of signing the BB contract before football season so he would have it to fall back on. Now he gets to live with the consequences.

    The A’s have no obligation to make life easier for him. They used a very high draft pick and made a big commitment to Murray. They have the right, in fact the obligation, to operate in their best interests as a business.

  16. “Trump’s Tiny Hands says:
    February 12, 2019 at 12:32 am

    So if the A’s still have his rights, does he not have to pay back the bonus he got? I mean, if he’s truly committed to football he should give it back on principle. I don’t understand MLB’s contract terms as much as I do the NFL’s.”

    Yes. That was covered in the third paragraph.

  17. Can someone please explain to me why it’s ok for Murray to sign a contract in June 2018 with the A’s for $5m and get a signing bonus then play QB for the Sooners that fall?

    Why is it ok for another professional sport to pay a kid in college, but the colleges can’t/won’t?

    I find it odd that a professional athlete (which is what he became the second he signed that contract) is able to play collegiate athletics and no one says a word about it.

  18. Hold on, the $4.66M is a signing bonus, not an annual salary. Even if he got $9M signing bonus, after that he’s making a minor league salary.

    He is still money ahead to be drafted in the 1st round, get an NFL signing bonus and NFL salary.

  19. Don’t see him winning this one. Teams at the top won’t draft him because he’s too risky and yes, tiny. Teams in 2nd or later know his guarantees won’t be high enough to keep him in football.

    So either it’s first round or bust.

  20. This guy has few talents that will translate to the NFL – he wasn’t particularly skilled in college. But he is the typical college QB that will last in the NFL 18 months before he decides to squat for the National Anthem and then whine he doesn’t get hired.

  21. If the A’s can keep his rights, all they have to is sit back and wait. If football doesn’t work out he won’t have any leverage with Oakland.

  22. Kingsbury is high on Murray. They’ve got the 1st pick in Round 2. I can’t imagine they take him in the first round, but if he falls to late 1st round do they trade up or hope he falls to round 2? It will be interesting.

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