The dust has begun to settle on the much-discussed Kyler Murray homework clause. So here’s the question: Will the team’s apparent insistence on reducing a requirement of four hours of study per week to writing (and having it become one of the biggest stories in the league) create a problem for team and player that won’t be easily resolved?
The prevailing theory in league circles is that the team demanded the provision. Some wonder whether it was a dealbreaker, that the Cardinals would have refused to do the contract without it. The Cardinals declined a request from PFT to discuss the specifics of the matter; we had asked for five minutes with owner Michael Bidwill, who ultimately makes the call on issues such as this. A former lawyer, Bidwill definitely reviewed every word of the provision. (There’s a chance he actually wrote it.)
Murray’s new contract lasts seven years. It has great cash flow in the short term. Even without the homework clause, Murray was likely to conclude in three or four years that the contract should be replaced. With the homework clause, and the kerfuffle that it sparked, Murray could eventually decide to make a power play not for a new deal but for a new team.
Some would ask a fairly basic question. Why did Murray sign the contract if he didn’t want to commit to the homework clause?
The easy answer is that he was due to make roughly $5 million this year. Signing the contract unlocked nine figures of fully-guaranteed money (as long as he does his homework). The more complicated answer is that, if he’d walked away, there’s a good chance that the terms he rejected would have leaked. There’s a good chance that his refusal to sign the deal over the homework clause would have leaked. As bad as the homework clause makes Murray look, turning down $46.1 million per year in new money and refusing to agree to spend at least four hours per week preparing for the next opponent would have made him look even worse.
The real question is whether Murray (regardless of whatever he says publicly) will be privately miffed that the Cardinals put him in a position that required him to have to agree to a term that he didn’t want in the deal and then to have it become something that made him look like he wasn’t working hard enough. It could linger. It could fester. It could become the first domino that leads to a divorce.