CARDINALS

Does Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray deserve to be paid like a Top 10 NFL quarterback?

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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Speculation has swirled recently that Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray wants to be paid like a top quarterback in the NFL.

That got us wondering.

Is he a top quarterback in the NFL?

Several rankings of NFL QBs have been released as the NFL offseason gets underway and some of them have different opinions on Murray, with some ranking him as a Top-10 NFL QB, while others have him outside the Top 10 at his position in the league.

NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal did view Murray as a Top 10 NFL quarterback.

He had the Cardinals QB at No. 8 in his ranking of every quarterback to start a game last season.

Rosenthal wrote of Murray: "Kyler would have fallen in the rankings more for his playoff performance, but there weren't logical candidates to jump him. Still, there is a big dropoff from the top seven at the position this year. Murray was as good as any quarterback through seven weeks, but his play was sporadic after he missed three games with an ankle injury. It often felt as if the Cardinals relied on Murray to create incandescent plays on his own; otherwise, the offense got stuck in quicksand. It's clear the team is not thrilled with Murray's maturity, and the feeling is probably mutual."

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Does Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray deserve to be paid like a Top 10 NFL quarterback?

Interestingly, Murray was ranked No. 13 in the 2019 rankings by NFL.com and No. 10 in 2020, so he has improved every season.

Murray was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft by the Cardinals.

Cards Wire's Jess Root wrote that Murray's ranking showed his potential.

"He has steadily improved each season," he wrote. "If this trend continues, he should have a top-tier season in 2022, which is what we all hope and expect. He looked like an MVP candidate for a stretch in 2020. He did again for the first half of 2021. If he stretches that over an entire season, he can firmly place himself into the elite quarterback talk of the league."

More:NFL MVP odds: Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray in Top 10 in early odds for 2022 NFL season

Audacy.com recently ranked the Top 10 QBs in the NFL last season and it also had Murray No. 8, after having him No. 4 at midseason.

Tim Kelly wrote: "There are legitimate criticisms to be made about how the Cardinals' 2021 season ended and the poor body language that Murray shows when things aren't going his way. However, some have gotten carried away in piling on Murray after an ugly playoff performance against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Rams. Murray is one of the shiftiest quarterbacks that we've ever seen, and is a very good passer. The Cardinals would be wise to repair their relationship with the 24-year-old -- even if he's partially at fault for whatever issues exist -- because he may be the best thing that's ever happened to their franchise."

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Sports Illustrated wasn't quite as high on Murray for 2022. It didn't have him as a Top 10 QB, instead placing him at No. 12.

It wrote of Murray: "Immaturity issues have prevented Murray from taking the next step."

DallasNews.com also didn't view Murray as a Top 10 QB in the NFL quite yet, ranking him No. 12 on its recent list of quarterbacks in the league.

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Sportsnaut put Murray at No. 11 on its list of QBs in the NFL.

Andrew Buller-Russ wrote: "Kyler Murray had a bad end to his year, throwing lazy interceptions in Week 14, followed by a lackluster performance losing to the Lions. To his credit, Murray started making plays with his feet in Week 16, but he had just five touchdowns in his last five games. When healthy, Murray is easily toward the top of the top-10 of Sportsnaut’s NFL QB rankings. But he will have some ground to make up after embarrassing himself in his only playoff game yet to date. This inexplicable pick-six put the final nail in the coffin, dashing any hopes the Cards had to advance in the postseason."

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Money matters

The highest paid QB in the NFL is the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, who makes $45 million in average salary per season.

The Top 10 quarterbacks in the league all make at least $30 million per season, with the Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan No. 10 at $30 million.

Murray made $8.8 million in 2021 and is set to make almost $11.4 million in 2022.

More:NFL's highest paid quarterbacks: Ranking QBs by salary for 2022 NFL season

Interestingly, Spotrac.com has an NFL Market Value tracker that calculates the market value for NFL players and it has Murray ranked No. 4 in the NFL, only behind Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Lamar Jackson.

It puts Murray's value at just over $43 million per season.

Fox Sports Radio's Colin Cowherd recently said that he thinks the Cardinals have no choice but to pay Murray.

"He wants to get paid and I think you have to pay him," Cowherd said. "And I think it helps him that he is in the SEC of the NFL, the NFC West … They are about six guys on the planet as good as Kyler Murray, you have to pay him. Drama? It's the new reality for star quarterbacks."

More:Kyler Murray advised to leave Arizona Cardinals: 'Just skip to the end of the movie'

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

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