Cardinals hurting themselves by not extending Kyler Murray

Up until this point, the Arizona Cardinals have dragged their feet in giving two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Kyler Murray a contract extension as he enters his fourth NFL season.

His agent, Erik Burkhardt, said in a statement earlier this offseason that he gave the team a contract offer. There was plenty of interest from Murray in being the franchise quarterback for the Cardinals for the foreseeable future.

While there is certainly an argument to be made that the manner in which Burkhardt handled the situation, going public on social media, was less than ideal, his points were still valid. To this point, Burkhardt and the Arizona Cardinals’ fanbase have watched as other teams went out and made aggressive moves that signaled a desire to win. While the offseason is far from over, and the team has a chance to turn around some of that frustration with a home run draft in a few weeks, virtually nothing has been done to this point.

It has been floated around that team owner Michael Bidwill and the Cardinals front office agreed to open contract negotiations with Murray’s camp this summer, when the team isn’t pressed for time with the draft. It is incredibly important that the team hold true to their word.

The longer this plays out, the higher the price tag could potentially rise. Wednesday morning, the Las Vegas Raiders agreed to terms on a three-year extension with quarterback Derek Carr with an average annual value of $40.5 million per year.

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This is a rather misleading contract, as that value rounds out to around $35 million per season if the entirety of the deal is played out. The guarantees are also quite low, as Carr himself opted to take a team-friendly deal after his contract was a large contributor as to why the team had to trade star pass rusher Khalil Mack a few seasons back.

Still, the point stands that as other teams extend their respective quarterbacks, Murray’s camp can use them as leverage to earn a higher salary from the Cardinals.

This offseason has seen the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Deshaun Watson all receive lucrative deals that have increased the annual price tag of having an elite quarterback, as the Cardinals do. The Watson deal, in particular, likely drove up the price of Murray’s eventual extension with the Cards.

The likes of the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and the Broncos’ newly acquired Russell Wilson are both candidates for extensions in the near future. Bidwill and the front office would be wise to extend Murray prior to that point, should they hope to not have his price tag rise any further.

Maintaining a good relationship with star players has been a struggle at times for this Cardinal organization, particularly when it comes to contract negotiations. Extending him now helps in creating a sour relationship between the two parties.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay spoke at the NFL owners meeting, stating the team flirted with the idea of acquiring a young quarterback, a trade that would have included multiple first-round picks. Given Deshaun Watson was the only other young star that would have warranted multiple first-round selections, and the Texans blocked the division rival Colts from interviewing him, it’s safe to assume Irsay was referring to Murray.

If a perennial playoff organization is calling you about your 24-year-old quarterback, shouldn’t that give you an even greater push to realize what you have and make sure he stays put for a long time?

Following the NFL draft at the close of the month, the organization should turn all efforts to extending Kyler Murray.


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