The Arizona Cardinals inked the offensive lineman to an extension that will keep him in the fold through the 2022 campaign
Back in September of 2019, the Arizona Cardinals front office made an under the radar acquisition. Justin Murray, an offensive lineman who was just released by the then Oakland Raiders, was inked to a one-year deal. Now, just over a year later, the Cards have decided that they’d like to keep the versatile backup around a little longer.
On Friday, Arizona announced that they have signed the 27-year old Murray to a two-year contract extension. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, it’s an agreement that could earn the veteran up to $9 million. It’s a huge raise from the $750,000 Murray received as an exclusive-rights free agent back in March.
After starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert suffered a torn ACL just days before last season’s opener, Murray was pressed into action. The 6’5, 304 pounder started 12 games for the Cardinals, after receiving a crash course in the squad’s newly-implemented “Air Raid” offense. Murray struggled a bit early on, but played much better later on in the campaign.
It appeared as if Murray would be the Cards starter at right tackle in 2020, but a newcomer came in and laid claim to the gig. In July, the club signed Kelvin Beachum, a blocker who had 99 NFL starts under his belt. The former Pittsburgh Steelers draft pick won the battle for the job, and Murray was relegated to backup status.
Despite the demotion, it’s become obvious that Arizona values the versatile Murray. The former undrafted free agent can be effective at both tackle and guard positions, and can be used as an extra body in the team’s “heavy” packages as well. Last week, Murray saw time at both guard spots during the 26-23 loss to the Detroit Lions.
“He’s a guy that I trust in there as a starter,” remarked offensive line coach Sean Kugler during the Cardinals training camp this past summer. “Extremely impressed by Murray’s work ethic and he’s improved even more in this camp.”