Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray just signed a five-year, $230.5 million contract extension with $160 million guaranteed. It should be a triumphant time for the two-time Pro Bowl QB. However, after embarrassing details in the contract leaked, the fourth-year signal-caller had to defend his maturity and work habits.
The embarrassing clauses in Kyler Murray’s new contract
Kyler Murray was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Just one year after taking UCLA QB Josh Rosen No. 10 overall, the Arizona Cardinals scrapped that plan and bet on the Oklahoma passer, who also was a first-round draft pick of MLB’s Oakland A’s in 2018.
The gamble has (mostly) paid off for Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals.
Rosen hasn’t become a viable NFL QB, while Murray has shown lots of promise. The quarterback’s accolades include the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award and two Pro Bowl appearances. And in 2021, he took his organization to its first playoff appearance since 2015.
After this success — and despite having two more seasons on his rookie deal — Murray pushed hard for a big-money extension this offseason. He unfollowed the Cardinals on social media and made his desire for a new contract incredibly clear.
Murray got his money, but not without a cost. His actions led some, including Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald, to label the soon-to-be-25-year-old star entitled immature.
After signing the deal, things got worse when the contract details leaked. Specifically, a clause requiring Murray “to complete at least four (4) hours of Independent Study” on game weeks.
The contract goes on to state that Murray won’t get credit for “Independent Study” if he “is engaged in any other activity that may distract his attention (for example, watching television, playing video games, or browsing the internet)” while he’s supposed to be preparing for the next game.
This is likely not how Murray saw his victory lap going after signing a life-changing contract. Now the QB is firing back at his critics who are using this clause to paint him as not a hard worker or invested teammate.
Murray fires back at his critics
This embarrassing language in Kyler Murray’s new deal led plenty of internet sleuths to dig up a New York Times interview with the QB from last year.
In it, the quarterback bragged about his “cognitive skills” and instincts when it came to football and proclaimed, “I’m not one of those guys that’s going to sit there and kill myself watching film.”
On Thursday, July 28, the day after the news of the clause broke, Murray had his say in the press.
Murray told the assembled media at Arizona Cardinals training camp that questioning his preparation and work ethic is “disrespectful” and “almost a joke.” He continued, “I’m honestly flattered that ya’ll think that at my size, I can go out there and not prepare for the game and not take it serious.”
The 5-foot-10, 207-pound Murray then listed his impressive athletic resume — from high school through his NFL career — and said he couldn’t have accomplished that without his solid work ethic.
Interestingly, after a somewhat contentious offseason between the Cardinals and the QB as well as rumors that owner Michael Bidwell was the one who insisted on putting the “Independent Study” clause in, the player “declined to answer a question if he was mad at the team for the contract clause,” per Cardinals insider Darren Urban on Twitter.
While this specific story will soon fade into the background as the NFL season gets underway, keeping an eye on tensions between Murray and the Cardinals still has legs.