CARDINALS

Kyler Murray 'stuck for now' with Arizona Cardinals, but baseball gives QB 'leverage'

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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Questions continue to surround quarterback Kyler Murray and his situation with the Arizona Cardinals.

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio and Charean Williams discussed an interesting one on a recent video posted by NBC Sports.

The question: Do you think Kyler Murray is the Arizona Cardinals quarterback Week 1?

The query prompted an interesting discussion between the two, who brought up the Dallas Cowboys, Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans and whether or not Murray could leave football for baseball.

"That's a tough one based on what we've seen this offseason," Williams said about Murray being Arizona's starter to open the 2022 season. "Yeah, I think he is, but it's obvious that something is up with him whether it's 'I want a new contract' and the Cardinals have said 'nah, we're going to wait another year to see what you do, if we can take that next step with you.' I think he's back, but I am not 100% sold on that, Mike."

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Florio then speculated about some of Murray's options.

"There's something going on there and I think it is as simple as he wants his contract and the Cardinals want to try to kick the can for a year like the Browns did with Baker Mayfield, his good friend, and he is not happy about that," he said. "His scrubbing of his Instagram account and other social media platforms happened after he was at the Pro Bowl around guys from other teams, I don't think that was a coincidence either. So something is going on.  I know he'd love to play for the Cowboys and play all his games at AT&T Stadium, but we don't see that happening. We mused about a possible Kyler Murray for Deshaun Watson trade where Murray could play for the Texans, but you know what, if he doesn't like losing, he's going to hate playing for the Texans. And he can't go play baseball for now because they are locked out. So he's kind of stuck."

Williams agreed: "He is stuck for now, Mike. And I am intrigued by a Deshaun Watson for Kyler Murray trade and what that would do for both teams, but I think Murray at that point would say 'I don't like this, I'm going elsewhere. I'm going to play baseball."

Florio ended the conversation talking more about Murray and baseball.

"He's always got that leverage," Florio said. "He's the only current NFL player that could go play another professional sport once they take the padlocks off the doors to the clubhouse."

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In this June 15, 2018, file photo, Oakland Athletics draft pick Kyler Murray looks on before a baseball game between the Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels, in Oakland, Calif.

Murray is under contract next season and the Cardinals hold an option for him in 2023.

Murray made $8.8 million last season and is set to make almost $11.4 million in 2022.

That hasn't stopped speculation surrounding the quarterback and his future.

And baseball has come up in some of that speculation.

Murray is a former first-round pick of the Oakland Athletics, who still hold his MLB rights.

Interestingly, some recent odds for Murray's potential next team had Murray switching to baseball tied for second at +600 with the Denver Broncos.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the favorite, should he not be with the Cardinals, at +500.

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Murray reiterated a desire to play both baseball and football in some interviews last year.

When asked by Pat McAfee if he would like to play both sports, Murray responded:

“I would love to," Murray said on The Pat McAfee Show. "I think it’s still there because I’ve been doing it my whole life. It wasn't like I have to turn this off to be elite at football.”

Murray explained what led him to play professional football in the interview, saying the choice to not play for the Oakland Athletics, the team that picked him in the MLB draft, was not an easy one.

"I've been doing both my whole life," he said. "It was definitely the hardest decision I've ever had to make just because given the age, my commitment and giving them (the A's) my word telling them that I was going to come play if they allowed me to play one more season of football, just because I had been waiting, obviously Baker (Mayfield) was the quarterback and waiting for my turn.

"I wasn't going to go play baseball if I didn't get my chance to do my thing on the football field. Once I got my chance, I knew what I was going to do my last season at OU (Oklahoma), did it, and then put myself in the position to be the No. 1 pick, which made things harder, but you can never have too many options."

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Mar 4, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (right) sits courtside of the Phoenix Suns game against the Golden State Warriors in the second half at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Murray hit .296 with 10 home runs, 47 RBIs and stole 10 bases in 2018 at Oklahoma, playing center field. The A's selected him No. 9 overall in the 2018 MLB draft.

But he really shined on the football field his senior season for the Sooners, winning the Heisman Trophy before getting picked by the Cardinals with the first pick in the 2019 draft.

After being asked if we would ever see Murray playing with an MLB team and if he could potentially play both sports, Murray answered:  "I hope so. I hope so. I mean, I would love to. I think that would be good for everybody … I think it is tough because I play quarterback."

After McAfee expressed how tough it would be to do both and how busy he would be playing football and baseball, Murray responded: "I think I could. Baseball season would have been started by now, right?"

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Murray shared some similar thoughts about baseball with Dan Patrick on The Dan Patrick Show last year.

In that interview, Murray expressed how difficult it was for him to choose to play football and to back out of playing for the Athletics.

"That was the hardest decision I ever had to make," Murray told The Dan Patrick Show. "It honestly took me a long time to figure out what I was going to do."

“It was hard for me to tell (the A’s) I’m not coming to play for them after I already told them I was going to."

Murray said that he even thought to himself  "You should have just played baseball" after his tough first half against the Lions in his first NFL game.

When asked if baseball was still a possibility by Patrick, Murray said: "As far as my ability goes, yeah. I don't know how the contract works and stuff like that, but yeah."

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According to Spotrac, Murray's current contract, which is for four years and $35.15 million (with a fifth-year option) would void if he left for MLB. He reportedly cannot play baseball according to his current deal with the Cardinals.

Part of Murray's interview with Patrick at that time should give Cardinals fans some ease about baseball.

The quarterback said that Deion Sanders, who also played football and baseball, advised him to play baseball, but Murray said "that wasn't where my heart was."

"To the people that say you should have played baseball, I don't think you understand how difficult the game of baseball is," Murray said. "Especially to play at that level, you've got to go through the minor leagues and stuff like that. It's a grind. It's taxing on the body, you play every day. It's not easy. … I trusted my ability and football has always kind of been my love."

Murray did create a stir last year, however, when he showed up at a Phoenix Suns game wearing an A's hat

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Reach Jeremy Cluff at jeremy.cluff@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.

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