From Tom Brady to Deshaun Watson to Russell Wilson to Aaron Rodgers, quarterbacks increasingly have realized the power they have. The next wave of quarterbacks with leverage and willingness to use it could include Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray.
Murray, the first overall pick in the 2019 draft, continues to talk about potentially playing baseball. A top-10 pick of the A’s, he’d have a baseball gig whenever he’d want it.
“I’m not trying to start anything, I’m just talking,” Murray told reporters after raising the subject in a Thursday session with reporters, via Darren Urban of the team’s official website.
Sometimes talking is enough to start something. In this case, however, there’s nothing to really start. Baseball has always been an option for Murray, from the moment he chose to enter the NFL draft. Unlike the overwhelming majority of football players, Murray can play another sport at a high level. He could make as much, maybe more, in baseball. (Former Notre Dame receiver Jeff Samardzija, who could have been a first-round pick in 2007, played baseball for more years than former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, the second overall pick in 2007, played football. Samardzija also earned more from his baseball career than Johnson earned from his football career.)
Whether Murray ever makes the change to baseball, the mere possibility of doing so gives him more power. What if he doesn’t like the long-term offers he gets from the Cardinals after he becomes eligible for a new deal after the 2021 season? What if the Cardinals eventually apply the franchise tag and Murray decides to pull a Le'Veon Bell, sitting out a full year (or longer). Unlike Bell, Murray would earn very good money while playing baseball.
Football players who aren’t happy with their contractual offers rarely have a viable Door No. 2. Murray has one, and will continue to have one.
So Murray isn’t starting anything at all. He’s continuing to remind the Cardinals and everyone else of the elephant in the room, holding a bat in its trunk and balancing itself on a giant baseball. Football needs Murray more than he needs football. Sometimes, that’s what a guy needs in order to get fully and fairly compensated for his skills, abilities, and sacrifices.
And who knows? Maybe Murray — who has said he’d love to play both sports — eventually will try to engineer a situation in which he can play both baseball and football in the same city.
Until he slams the door on baseball (or on football), the possibility will continue to linger. Until he keeps talking about baseball, the door definitely won’t be slammed.