Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray reportedly won’t play under the current terms of the fourth year of his rookie contract. This implies that he’ll hold out, if he doesn’t get a new deal that he deems acceptable.
He has every right to do that. Despite the terms of his individual contract, the Collective Bargaining Agreement gives him the right to withhold services in order to get whatever he wants, whether a new contract from the Cardinals or a trade to a team that will give him one.
If he ultimately holds out, what will it cost? Per the CBA, he’d be fined $40,000 per day. Far more importantly, he’d lose the vast majority of his 2022 compensation — a 90-man roster bonus in the amount of $4.524 million — if he doesn’t report by the third day of training camp.
If he’s willing to forfeit $4.524 million by not showing up by the third day of camp, why not also give up his $765,000 salary and sit out the whole year? Well, doing so would result in the forfeiture of more than $5.8 million in paid but unearned signing bonus money.
So, yes, it could get very expensive for Murray to stay away in order to force a new contract or a trade. Still, the overriding question would be whether the Cardinals would relent and trade or pay him, or whether the Cardinals would take the old-school play-for-us-or-play-for-no-one approach, squatting on Murray’s rights indefinitely.
If that happens, Murray has an ace in the hole. He can go play baseball in the Oakland A’s system. If push comes to shove, maybe he will.