TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The drama is over and the decision is in: Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals have made a long-term commitment to each other with a new contract that would keep the quarterback in the desert through the 2028 season.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection was taken with the No. 1 overall pick out of Oklahoma after he won the Heisman Trophy and has largely delivered in his quest to make the Cardinals a better franchise.
The team announced the new contract on Thursday. ESPN reported that the contract could be worth $230.5 million, with $160 million guaranteed.
Murray’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment
Murray’s new contract puts him on par with other young star quarterbacks throughout the league like Buffalo’s Josh Allen, who signed a deal worth more than $250 million last season. Murray will make an average of more than $46 million per season, which is similar to other elite quarterbacks such as Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Allen.
Listed at just 5-foot-10, some around the NFL worried the 24-year-old Murray was too short to be a dominant pro quarterback, but his stats through three seasons prove otherwise.
He’s completed nearly 67% of his passes through 46 career games for 11,480 yards and 70 touchdowns while rushing for 1,786 yards and 20 TDs. Murray is particularly good at extending plays with his feet, using his scrambling ability for spectacular gains.
Arizona had a 5-10-1 record during his rookie season in 2019 but the Cardinals improved to 11-6 last season before losing to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Wild Card round during the playoffs.
The deal brings an end to a strange, passive-aggressive offseason contract squabble. At one point, Murray wiped his social media accounts of all references to the Cardinals and it wasn’t clear whether the franchise was ready to make a long-term investment.
The two sides appeared to be on a path toward reconciliation over the past few months. GM Steve Keim said that there was “zero chance” Murray would be traded and the quarterback put on social media that he wanted to win Super Bowls with the Cardinals and called Arizona “home.”
The Cardinals had already picked up Murray’s fifth-year option for the 2023 season, further easing tensions, but Thursday’s news puts an end to any lingering questions.
Now Murray can take the field for training camp next week knowing his football future is secure. The Cardinals face plenty of challenges in 2022, including navigating the first six games without star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who was suspended for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Murray and fourth-year coach Kliff Kingsbury are under significant pressure to produce this fall after last year’s late-season collapse. The Cardinals looked like one of the NFL’s best teams in 2021 after starting with a 10-2 record, but lost four of their last five regular-season games before getting beat 34-11 by the Rams in the wild card round.