It was a stunning end to a drama that figured to last for the balance of the offseason, and maybe beyond. And while it still may not be over, Murray’s pro-Cardinals tweet from Thursday seems to close the book on the possibility of Murray making a power play.
But it would be naive to assume a power play wasn’t attempted. From the stripping of the Cardinals from his social-media account to the single-spaced manifesto posted by his agent to the constant undercurrent of dissatisfaction coming from Murray’s camp regarding the team’s refusal to engage in contract negotiations, Murray and agent Erik Burkhardt were up to something. Now? Not.
So what happened? When the situation most recently bubbled up eight days ago, it felt like a calculated effort by Murray’s camp to raise the “Make the Cardinals An Offer” flag. Maybe someone tried, and the Cardinal refused. Maybe no one really tried.
That’s the real question with Murray. Regardless of whether the Cardinals will trade him, who will trade for him? More specifically, who would offer major assets to the Cardinals AND pay Murray the kind of contract he wants?
The simple answer may be no one. Which forces Murray to focus on staying with the Cardinals, and on eventually getting the best offer the Cardinals will make.
We’ve previously pointed out the potential impact of Murray’s friendship with Baker Mayfield on Murray’s situation. Here’s one very clear lesson Murray can learn from Mayfield’s misadventures. Take the money before the fourth season, because it can all fall apart, quickly.
Last year, Mayfield surely could have gotten a long-term deal worth $30 million per year from the Browns. He justifiably wanted a lot more. As a result, the negotiations never really got going. This year, Mayfield is a man without a country, after a Week Two injury fueled a full-season regression and, ultimately, a decision by the Browns to go get someone else.
Although we love it when a guy bets on himself and wins, we rarely mention it when a guy bets on himself and loses. By not getting the Browns to put their best offer on the table last year and taking it, Mayfield bet on himself and lost. It’s that simple.
Murray needs to get the Cardinals to put their best offer on the table before training camp opens. And then he needs to decide whether he wants to take what he can get now, or whether he wants to wait for more later. If he waits, he needs to realize there’s a chance he gets a lot less than he could have gotten now. And he needs to look no farther than his friend and former Oklahoma teammate for a vivid and recent example of that.