Kyler Murray makes weak closing argument for second contract

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams
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The primary goal for Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray on Monday night was, obviously, to win his first ever NFL playoff game. An important secondary objective lingered just below the surface.

With Murray eligible for a second contract, he needed a strong performance to position himself for a major deal in the 2022 offseason.

Last night’s showing will make it very difficult for Murray to get Josh Allen money or Dak Precott money or Patrick Mahomes money or any money close to the money paid at the top of the market. The most jarring aspect of Murray’s performance came from the lack of runs. Two carries, six yards.

With the season on the line, two carries for six yards can’t be the final stat line for the most dynamic running quarterback in football.

Look at what the Bills did on Saturday night. Josh Allen set the tone with a 26-yard sprint on the opening drive. Utilizing the run threat gets defenses on their heels, opening up the passing game just a little bit more because they’re watching and waiting to be gashed again by a fleet-footed quarterback who decides to tuck and run, either by design before the snap or on the fly.

Two carries. Six yards. It can’t happen, especially with receiver DeAndre Hopkins not present to draw extra attention.

Murray generally ran less in 2021, with his averaging attempts per game falling from 8.3 in 2020 to 6.2 in 2021. Before last night, however, he never had fewer than four attempts on the season. He last had only two attempts in the final game of the 2020 regular season, an 18-7 loss to the Rams.

Perhaps his ankle is still bothering him. Or maybe the game plan was to zig when the Rams expected a zag. Regardless, coach Kliff Kingsbury was expecting Murray to play the biggest game of his career. The end result was a far cry from that.

It creates a real question as to whether the Cardinals will offer him a contract now, or whether they’ll wait until after he completes his fourth season. If it’s the latter, the question then becomes whether Murray will be happy with that development, given that he’s still playing under a CBA-limited rookie deal when he has shown he can perform at a high level.

For 99.9 percent of all NFL quarterbacks, the unhappiness of a player under contract for multiple years doesn’t matter. For Murray, who was a top-10 pick in the MLB draft and who is still only 24, he continues to have a solid alternative for making big money as a pro athlete.

48 responses to “Kyler Murray makes weak closing argument for second contract

  1. While he’s still young enough, he may want to chase that baseball career instead.

  2. I don’t want to sound like an old man, but did people really think that NFL level defensive coordinators weren’t going to figure out these run-first, undersized QBs? I mean, sure, superstars like Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson will thrive, but there is a reason the NFL prioritized at least average to above average height, pocket presence and arm talent for quarterbacks all this time.

    Players who want to succeed without those things had better be super elite athletically, and we are going to find out that list wasn’t as long as we may have thought it was.

  3. At this point, Baseball isn’t a great alternative to making millions. It typically takes around 7 years after signing a pro contract to really start getting paid as a Baseball player. Is Kyler Murray really going to leave Football to ride a bus in the minor leagues for a few years? Besides scrub QB money is way more than any Baseball player makes until they hit free agency…which for Murray would be after turning 30.

  4. “The most dynamic running quarterback in football.” Really??!!! I think 99.9% of folks would be with me when I say Lamar!

  5. It still boggles my mind that people are surprised that when a quarterback doesn’t have any time at all in the pocket that they get happy feet and play terribly. The Rams front for positively dominated the Cardinals. They even dominated them at times when they only rushed 3. Of course Kyler was seeing ghosts.

    It’s almost like an offensive line is very important in this sport.

  6. Omg how overblown can you get. The kid was rookie of the year in year one with a bad team around him., and has went to two pro bowls the last two years. The Cards have always had trouble finding a long term franchise QB. They will gladly pay Murray huge money. One bad game shouldn’t discount what this kid has done.

  7. Wait, and what has Dak Prescott done to show that he’s deserving of a Dak Prescott deal?

  8. Poor coaching hurt them. All the talent in the world and they can’t win 1 playoff game against a division rival. Sad.

  9. Murray isn’t worth Josh Allen money, I don’t think he’s worth the contract Kirk Cousins received, neither is Kirk.

    Cardinals are known to pay bad QB’s.

  10. Maybe you’re considering Lamar a running back, which is understandable, but objectively, Jackson is a more dynamic “QB” on the ground than Murray.

  11. Great summary. The game at playoff level is too fast for Murray right now. Until his mental acuity can take in all the nuances of playing QB he will be in panic mode. That may never happen. Very few QB’s get in that zone….Yes, Kingsbury didn’t come to the game in the right mindset. You have to start off by taking it to them. You can’t play defense with your offense. Take advantage of their weaknesses, attack their strengths, and smash them in the mouth. Disruption of their game plan is key to winning at playoff level. Shock & Awe…Make them try to improvise….On another note glad see Buda Baker released a video from the hospital!

  12. Kyler didn’t play well but he also faced a better defensive front than Josh Allen did. It was a bad matchup for the Cardinals.

  13. Right. Let’s base his next contract on just one-game performance and IGNORE what he’s done to improve the last THREE SEASONS.

  14. BDUB says:
    January 18, 2022 at 3:53 pm
    Omg how overblown can you get. The kid was rookie of the year in year one with a bad team around him., and has went to two pro bowls the last two years. The Cards have always had trouble finding a long term franchise QB. They will gladly pay Murray huge money. One bad game shouldn’t discount what this kid has done.
    It wasn’t a bad game it was a bad second half of the season in back to back years . Without the threat of running Murray is a below average QB . Injuries play a part but that’s the problem of having a small QB who needs to run to be successful . If the Cards are smart they ride out the last year of his deal and keep their fingers crossed .

  15. mellow says: “Hopkins makes QB’s look great. See Watson with and without Hopkins. Same with Murray.”

    You might want to check those stats again…

    2019 333-for-495, 67.3% 3,852 yards. 26 TDs and 12 INTs. 98.0 rating
    2020 382-for-544, 70.2% 4,823 yards. 33 TDs and 7 INTs. 112.4 rating

    Watson literally improved at EVERY SINGLE stat without Hopkins and his $27m/yr contract.

  16. Coaching screwed Kyler by not running it enough in the first half. He was running for his life back there and they didn’t start pounding it till they were down by 3 scores.

  17. IN MLB Murray is unlikely to earn anywhere near what he can earn in the NFL. He’ll get paid, just not the tope QB amount. Thats still a ton.

  18. What Murray would make in baseball vs what he would be almost guaranteed to make in football even as a 2nd rate starter is a huge difference. There is no guarantee in that Murray would ever make the majors in baseball. He already is in the show for football. You don’t just walk into MLB just because you where a high draft pick, most don’t even make it to the majors. No baseball is not an alternative right now or probably ever be again.

  19. I haven’t watched alot of his film, but it seems like he is limited to only launching deep throws while scrambling due to his height…Perhaps he might be able to learn from some of Russ’s game, but I am not sold on him as a long term dominant franchise qb….also, Kingsbury isn’t doing him any favors with the play calling.

  20. “when he has shown he can perform at a high level.”

    He really hasn’t. We are still waiting to see it and the jury results are pretty much in…

  21. Really bad game plan.

    They knew (or should have) that the Rams Dline was superior to their OLine.

    So what was the strategy?

    To pretend otherwise.

    Should have rolled him out early and often and made those Dlinemen run, run, run.

  22. Very puzzling game, no Hopkins, hardly throws to Ertz, Murray doesn’t run. The whole team needs better coaching, Murray especially, 3 years in and he’s not up to speed on the pro game. Maybe he never will be, maybe he needs to see Jordan Palmer this off season.

  23. My opinion is Kyler over estimated his own capability or he listens to his entourage too much. That attitude stops anyone from progressing, regardless of his physical tool.

  24. “You might want to check those stats again…

    2019 333-for-495, 67.3% 3,852 yards. 26 TDs and 12 INTs. 98.0 rating
    2020 382-for-544, 70.2% 4,823 yards. 33 TDs and 7 INTs. 112.4 rating

    Watson literally improved at EVERY SINGLE stat without Hopkins and his $27m/yr contract.”

    And this is a prime example of how fantasy football distorts perception. The one thing missing from the above comparison? The Texans won/loss record.
    They were 10-6 in 2019, 4-12 in 2020.
    Padded stats during garbage time doesn’t give the full perspective of how bad that team started to crater after Bill O’Brien’s turrible trades.

  25. It was so much fun watching this tiny guy fall to the ground rather than to get hit. I almost felt sorry for Kayla. But then his kind of fake QB makes me furious – you actually are hired to throw first – not to run first.

  26. How much of the Cardinals records for the last 8 games was on Murray vs. Kingsbury? Also, who gets credit for all the wins the Cardinals got? I’d argue that failure to adjust to what teams did to stop the Cardinals falls on the coaching staff. Murray is one of the top QB’s in the league and deserves to be paid like one. If the Cardinals don’t want to, I’m sure there’s a long list of teams who will.

  27. I’m not going to panic, if I’m a Cardinal fan. True; He was a deer in the headlights. That’ll change next season. He will be better than 25 other starting QBs next year. Will he win a SB in the coming years? That’s a tough question to answer. However, I think he is more likely than not to get to one in the next decade. Is Baseball an option? Sure. But going to play BB after this loss would leave a bad taste in his mouth, forever. Not going to happen.

  28. I’m a Rams fan, so I follow the division rivals pretty closely. Kyler Murray is a hugely talented QB who can do, and has done, some jaw-dropping things. Not just the heave-ho to D’Andre Hopkins (one of the greatest NFL plays ever), but similar oh-my-god plays. He even did them consistently earlier in the season, and let’s recall that he was an strong MVP candidate until week 10 or so. I chalk it up to a really bad game (he looked shellshocked, which I’ve never seen before) and also bad game-planning; there were times that he looked like he wanted to take off down the field, and should have, but didn’t, and my only rationale was that he had been discouraged from running, via the game plan.

  29. What a load…
    He’s going to get PAID! When his name comes up on the QB pay wheel he’ll be top of league, or very close.

  30. Most dynamic running quarterback in football? Only if you actually do it. See Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson.

  31. Murray’s desperate endzone toss for a pick6 shows he has refused to grow and discipline himself to the NFL level. Murray continues to make these bad peewee football level decisions in the endzone and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s have no more nonsense about his high school career success. That was against boys, and now he is playing against the best men on the planet. Keep in mind that even Tim Tebow had played well enough to win a playoff game.

  32. Overreaction much? I’m sure the Giants and Broncos would gladly pay Josh Allen money for Murray.

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