INDIANAPOLIS — Just how far is Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray willing to go in pursuit of a big-money, long-term contract extension? His only real leverage is threatening to hold out (and following through on that threat). But Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said at the NFL Scouting Combine Tuesday that he’s not worried about such a move.
Arizona Cardinals GM Steve Keim addresses Kyler Murray contract negotiations
Keim, during his annual Combine news conference, was succinct and blunt when asked if he was worried Murray might not report to the team in 2022 without a new deal.
His response: “No.”
That’s a significant gamble, considering the open letter Murray’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, sent to Cardinals fans Monday.
“Actions speak louder than words in this volatile business,” Burkhardt wrote. “It is now simply up to the Cardinals to decide if they prioritize their rapidly improving 24-year-old, already two-time Pro Bowl QB, who led the organization from 3 wins before his arrival to 11 wins and their first playoff appearance in 5 years or rather, if they choose to financially prioritize committing to other areas and continuing to merely talk about addressing Kyler’s long-term future as their QB.”
Such a bold and public negotiating ploy is rare in pro football, but if it irked Keim that his franchise quarterback was negotiating through the media, he didn’t show it Tuesday.
“I have not talked to them in a few days, but there’s always been current dialogue,” Keim said. “The only thing I’ll say in regards to the statement, I think it’s an agent doing his job. I have a lot of respect for Erik Burkhardt and obviously Kyler Murray. From my standpoint, like it’s always been, any kind of speculation, any negotiations, any conversations, and dialogue will certainly be held confidential between the three of us.”
Cardinals’ Murray does have options
Murray wants the Cardinals to reward him for turning around a historically bad franchise the way the Bills rewarded Josh Allen for doing the same last offseason. The Bills controlled Allen’s rights for two more seasons but decided to make him the second-highest paid player in NFL history early in a sign of commitment to their franchise QB.
Murray wants the same treatment.
It’s just not clear if the Cardinals — who will pick up Murray’s fifth-year option, Keim said — are willing to make that leap.
“I will say this: Looking back three years ago, the strides that he’s made, both on and off the field, have been very impressive, and there’s no doubt that he’s a huge reason for the turnaround in success.”
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