Attempts to deal quarterback Kyler Murray have been met with widespread disapproval from NFL executives.
Among NFL executives, “that’s just not a tradeable contract,” as one told Jeff Howe of The Athletic.
“Moving that contract is a problem,” said another executive to Howe.
Murray signed a five-year, $230.5 million contract deal that goes until 2028.
According to Howe, Murray is owed a salary of $35.3 million for the upcoming season, and if he is still on the team’s roster by March 17, 2024, he will also receive a compensation of $11.9 million for the following year.
The Cardinals would probably prefer to trade Murray before March 17 in order to avoid taking on that hit.
However, given Arizona’s urgency to trade him, this puts them in a difficult negotiating position with other teams.
An administrator asked Howe, “Why would I do that as another team?” “They’d probably just cut him.”
The Cardinals are at a critical juncture in their history.
Arizona would have the first overall pick if the season ended today, giving them the opportunity to draft a new quarterback (possibly USC’s Caleb Williams).
The 1-8 Cardinals could have a good chance at a top draft pick in April.
Murray will play his first game of 2023 on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons despite suffering an ACL tear in December.
During his four-year career, the 2019 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year showed flashes, most notably when he accounted for 66 total touchdowns in 2020 and 2021, helping to lead the Cardinals to the 2021 postseason.
However, in the most recent season (2022), he posted career lows in both passing yards per attempt (6.1) and throwing touchdowns (14). In addition, his 87.2 passer rating was the lowest of his career.
There’s still plenty of gas in the 26-year-old’s tank, and he may easily get back to his 2020-21 form.
Now that general manager Monte Ossenfort has been replaced by general manager Jonathan Gannon, the Cardinals may feel obligated to start fresh by selecting a new (and perhaps higher-ceiling) prospect in this year’s selection.
In that case, it would be quite expensive, especially in terms of dead cap money, to just release Murray from the roster. After 2024, however, he also has no fixed payments coming to him.
The Cardinals’ remaining eight games will be led by Murray for the time being, starting with Sunday’s 4:05 p.m. ET home game against the Braves.