The questions regarding Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray‘s future with the team first emerged four weeks ago, when he removed all references to the Cardinals from his social-media accounts. After some periodic awkwardness, a few Cardinals images recently have returned to his Instagram page.
So what does that mean?
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, not much. It was the latest olive branch that Murray has extended at a time when the relationship is frayed. He has made several such efforts since the situation got a little out of hand last month.
In return, it’s unclear what the Cardinals have done. He clearly wants his long-term contract now. Albert Breer of SI.com recently reported that Murray wants his contract situation resolved before the draft. The urgency comes from the fact that, if the Cardinals won’t be giving him what he wants, he’ll be looking for a trade to a new team before teams lock in their plans for 2022.
This can all be avoided if the Cardinals simply pay Murray. As Burkhardt tweeted on Tuesday after news surfaced of the trade that will send Russell Wilson from Seattle to Denver, “Again, you either have a franchise QB, or you don’t. And if you don’t, none of the other pieces matter much in the end.”
The Cardinals have a franchise quarterback. He wants to be paid franchise-quarterback money. Will the Cardinals do it?
This contract tug-of-war will be a test of whether the Cardinals are current. The team has a history of being extremely careful with money. More than a decade ago, they reportedly deducted the cost of a FedEx envelope from safety Robert Griffith’s signing bonus. According to Griffith, the Cardinals also locked the Gatorade fridge on Tuesdays, when the players were off.
The organization has paid out plenty of major contracts since then. But this is the biggest test. A true franchise quarterback, eligible for a second contract and anxious to be given a contract that reflects not only where the current market is but where it’s going.
The most fair approach would be to give Murray a fixed percentage of the cap, each and every year of the deal. That would protect him against the contract becoming obsolete. If the Cardinals won’t do that (and no team ever has), the Cardinals may simply need to give Murray a market-value deal, realizing that the passage of time will make the deal more palatable, given the ongoing increases in the cap.
And they definitely shouldn’t deduct the cost of the FedEx envelope from his signing bonus.