Dak Prescott’s extension changes extension talks for Kyler Murray

Dak Prescott's extension could give Arizona Cardinals trouble when it comes to extending Kyler Murray. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Dak Prescott's extension could give Arizona Cardinals trouble when it comes to extending Kyler Murray. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Dak Prescott’s extension puts the Arizona Cardinals in a unique spot with Kyler Murray and his next contract extension.

The quarterback position is the hardest to play in all of professional sports, and the amount of preparation that goes into being a successful one is insane. Dak Prescott’s extension is the most recent in the wave of QB-mega contracts, following the likes of Patrick Mahomes II’s earth-shattering contract. While Mahomes’ was justified with a super bowl win and a second consecutive super bowl appearance, Prescott’s only had one playoff win. This sets a dangerous precipice for Steve Keim and the team. As Kyler Murray hasn’t gotten his team to the playoffs.

They were tantalizingly close last year, but an injury to Murray in that final game proved to be the nail in the coffin for 2020.  Murray and company sure have the pressure to make the playoffs this season. Here’s my thing: If Murray can’t make the playoffs consistently and win at least one game in the next two years, the Cardinals should do as much as possible to mitigate giving him a massive contract.

Just because Murray

may be

the franchise quarterback, doesn’t necessarily mean they (the Cardinals) need to shell out so much money. Especially in the guaranteed money department.  A prime example of this is Kirk Cousins getting $84 million guaranteed and totally missing expectations in Minnesota (

I am NOT comparing Murray to Cousins in skill level, just stating the fact of contract).

With Prescott getting $126 guaranteed, this doesn’t make it any easier for Keim when it comes time to negotiate. If a quarterback can’t be more than just a game manager, is it really worth continuing to throw money at him?

Steve Keim’s options for Kyler Murray

In order to save themselves, Keim needs to pick up Murray’s 5th year option. If he does, that number will be calculated by May 3rd, 2022. While this does guarantee the 2022 and ’23 seasons’ earnings for Kyler Murray, we will not know the total number until the calculation is done when/and/if the 5th year option is picked up. There’s a really nice summary here on what the CBA did to the 5th year option.

Another option the team could do is the exclusive rights franchise tag. Instead of the average of top 5 salaries for the last 5 years (non-exclusive tag), it would only do the average of the top 5 salaries at the QB position for that year.

The only team to win the Super Bowl while having its two highest-paid players make more than 21.6 percent of the salary cap is the 49ers in 1994 with Steve Young and Jerry Rice. Teams that spread the money around usually benefit. The two highest-paid players on the Eagles’ Super Bowl–winning team last year combined for 11.6 percent of the cap.

-Kevin Clark, The Ringer

The top 5 for 2023 would can be seen here, and a rough estimate would put Murray on that tag for $40 million for one year. While this is definitely a lot of money for one year, let’s not forget Murray’s rookie contract gave him $35 million guaranteed. Of course all of this is null and void if Murray is successful and leaves no more doubt about being a consistent playoff contender.

I am all for having players get what they’ve earned. But a quarterback that eats a huge chunk of cap space and doesn’t perform can set a team back for years (aka Joe Flacco, Blake Bortles, Carson Wentz). Quarterbacks who want to win championships need to take after what Tom Brady has done for his entire career. Structuring your contracts so that the team can still pay others is crucial to sustaining success.  Arizona now has DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt to keep when their respective contracts are up.

Related Story. Could this year's salary cap doom the Arizona Cardinals?. light

Cap concerns for 2021 and going forward

If Kyler Murray has a that deal isn’t structured in a team-friendly way, then the Cardinals will be in a pickle. The lowered salary cap this year will already be a challenge, but will the league make up revenue in the next few years? If baseball is getting some fans, then things may be looking up for football as well. Will highly guaranteed contracts be the new trend that come along?