The Kyler Murray contract has become official. And it officially contains a term that one source with extensive knowledge of player contracts has deemed to be unprecedented.
The deal requires that Murray engage in at least four hours of “Independent Study” during each week of the season, from the Monday after training camp ends through the last game on the schedule, including any postseason games.
The contract defines “Independent Study” to include the study of “the material provided to him by the Club in order to prepare for the Club’s next upcoming game, including without limitation any such material provided via an iPad or other electronic device.” Time spent in mandatory meetings doesn’t count.
The contract specifically includes this sentence: “Player shall not receive any credit for Independent Study with respect to any time periods during which any material is displayed or played on an iPad or electronic device if (a) Player is not personally studying or watching the material while it is being displayed or played or (b) Player is engaged in any other activity that may distract his attention (for example, watching television, playing video games or browsing the internet) while such material is being displayed or played.”
A breach of this term counts as a default under the contract, which would jeopardize his guaranteed money.
It’s unclear how any of this will be enforced by the Cardinals, unless there’s a way to remotely monitor active interaction and engagement of the iPad. (Microsoft, which gives the league a ton of money for an exclusive Surface sponsorship deal, may not appreciate the use of the name of the Apple tablet.) The mere fact that the team reduced the term to writing suggests that the team has concerns about whether and to what extent Murray does sufficient homework.
He wouldn’t be the first player to rely excessively on natural skills, and to give short shrift to studying the playbook, the game plan, and film. He is perhaps the first, if not one of the only, to have a term like this in his contract.
Bottom line: It wouldn’t be there unless the team thought there was a reason for it.