Arizona Cardinals shouldn't hand Byron Murphy a big-money contract
The Arizona Cardinals front office should think twice about forking over a ton of guaranteed money to the free-agent cornerback .
The NFL's free-agent signing period is less than a week away, and the Arizona Cardinals are in the process of deciding which of their own players they'd like to keep. General manager Monti Ossenfort elected not to use the franchise tag on anyone, so a plethora of Cards players could be up for grabs in just a matter of days.
At the top of Arizona's list of free agents is cornerback Byron Murphy, a second-round draft pick of the club back in 2019. Many feel that retaining the number-one cover guy on the current roster would be a no-brainer for the Cardinals. It remains to be seen, however, if the new regime will make keeping Murphy in the nest a priority in 2023.
It would stand to reason that the Redbirds would've franchised Murphy if they were really determined to hang onto him. That may be true, but there's still a chance that Ossenfort and his cohorts could agree to a brand-new contract with the 25-year-old corner. Whether Murphy deserves the type of money that he'll reportedly command if he hits the open market is up for debate.
Byron Murphy could command more money than the Arizona Cardinals are willing to pay
It's being reported that Murphy could receive a deal that would pay him $16 million per year. That's a lot of coin, especially for an individual who was sidelined for eight games last season because of a back injury. There's no reason to believe that Murphy won't rebound from last fall's setback, but the Cards could be wary enough to pursue one of the other available cornerbacks instead.
Veteran James Bradberry of the Philadelphia Eagles has 18 interceptions and 99 passes defensed on his NFL resume. Jonathan Jones racked up 69 tackles, four interceptions (one a pick-six) and 11 pass breakups for the New England Patriots in 2022. In four campaigns with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jamel Dean has tallied 193 tackles, seven picks and 41 passes defensed.
There are several other free-agent corners who Arizona could kick the tires on. Shaquill Griffin, Cameron Sutton, and Emmanuel Moseley are also intriguing options. There's no denying that Murphy has been a solid performer for the Cardinals defense, but he's certainly not someone who the team couldn't live without.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)