TEMPE, Ariz. — Kyler Murray lastly bought the contract he wished on Thursday, and the Arizona Cardinals lastly bought the quarterback stability they have been looking for for many years.
The Cardinals did not have a selection.
Murray’s five-year extension, value $230.5 million with $160 million assured, will preserve him beneath contract via the 2028 season. If he performs the size of the deal, he’ll turn out to be the second-longest-tenured quarterback in franchise historical past behind Jim Hart, who performed 18 seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1966 to 1983.
That is one of many principal causes Arizona needed to give Murray a deal.
Quarterback stability and longevity have lengthy been a problem for the Cardinals since their transfer to Arizona in 1988. Carson Palmer and Kurt Warner every performed 5 years for Arizona, and Jake Plummer performed six. Murray can change that narrative, and the Cardinals knew that.
So did Murray.
In principle, the Cardinals had decisions when it got here to Murray. They might have waited to see how the two-time Professional Bowler performed this season, then found out his contract state of affairs throughout the 2023 offseason. Or they may have determined to maneuver on. In actuality, ready wasn’t viable.
One of many largest liabilities within the NFL is trying behind door No. 2, particularly in terms of quarterbacks. Arizona may’ve moved on from Murray and drafted a quarterback, signed a veteran in free company or opted for one more choice on the roster, however that will’ve saved the Cardinals in the identical cycle of mediocrity.
Murray held all of the leverage when it got here to his contract. Murray by no means talked about a holdout, however coach Kliff Kingsbury apprehensive throughout June’s minicamp that it was a chance. Murray and his group knew all about Arizona’s historical past and what he had already carried out for the franchise by main it to year-over-year-over-year enchancment after it hit all-time low in 2018, going 3-13. That season led to the Cardinals taking Murray with the No. 1 decide within the 2019 NFL draft.
Murray hasn’t been excellent in his three years with the Cardinals, however he has been pretty much as good as, if not higher than, some other quarterback they’ve ever had. He is the one participant in NFL historical past with 70 landing passes and 20 speeding touchdowns in his first three seasons. He is the one Cardinals quarterback to throw for 3,500 yards and 20 landing passes in three straight seasons.
His 13,266 mixed passing and speeding yards is the third most in league historical past throughout a participant’s first three seasons. That complete ranks behind solely Andrew Luck and Cam Newton. Add in his two Professional Bowl nods and his Rookie of the 12 months trophy in 2019 and the Cardinals simply paid one of many higher quarterbacks within the NFL.
Murray, nevertheless, comes with just a few issues. He has suffered accidents the previous two seasons, impacting not simply how he performed however the trajectory of the Cardinals’ season. A excessive ankle sprain final season derailed what may’ve been an MVP-caliber marketing campaign. His Whole QBR (65.1), completion proportion (73%) and yards per try (8.9) in September and October final season had been all ranked within the high 5. For the remainder of the 12 months all of them dropped (47.5, 65% and 6.7, respectively).
Kingsbury has lengthy talked about Murray enhancing his physique language on the sector, going so far as displaying the quarterback movies of how Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson conduct themselves.
Regardless of the issues surrounding him, Murray has stood out along with his play, whether or not it is a juke, run or throw. He confirmed he may make the powerful passes this season, with a completion proportion 3.9% increased than anticipated — the second-highest mark amongst certified quarterbacks behind Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow.
Murray’s contract extension brings expectations. Arizona has struggled to complete the previous two seasons, wrapping up 2020 by shedding 5 of its last seven and 6 of its last 9, after which ending final season by dropping 4 of its final 5, together with an embarrassing blowout within the wild-card spherical to the Los Angeles Rams.
To show Murray was worthy of a contract — one that provides him the second-highest assured cash behind Deshaun Watson ($230 million) and the second-highest common per 12 months behind Rodgers ($50.3 million) — Murray must do greater than get Arizona again to the postseason in 2022. He must win a playoff recreation. At the very least one. That will not be simple with out his finest offensive playmaker, broad receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who’s suspended for the primary six video games of the season, to not point out bucking the current historical past of going right into a tailspin within the second half of seasons.
Murray earned his cash and was going to get it sooner or later.
Now he has to point out he is value it.