Immature, underwhelming, and underachieving are three of many adjectives you can use to describe Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray’s 2022 campaign. But lately, we’ve seen Murray at least shed the immaturity label, given his participation in the Redbirds offseason program even if he hasn’t yet been cleared to return to play.
It was a stark contrast from what we saw with Murray during the Kliff Kingsbury era, when he wasn’t often seen at team headquarters until it was mandatory. And we also know just how much Murray is raring to return in time for Week 1. So for the Cardinals, this would be ideal as the former number one pick would heighten their chances of putting together a respectable season.
Per Tyler Drake of Arizona Sports, there are three major pros to play Murray in 2023. I already mentioned that Murray’s presence will increase the team’s chances of winning, and it’s something Drake also outlined.
However, they also mentioned two drawbacks, and they are what I would like to discuss. Such drawbacks include Murray’s trade value potentially decreasing with poor play, along with a decreased draft position if the 25-year-old plays well and gives Arizona positive returns. But if you ask me, there are no downsides regarding the quarterback playing for an extended time this season.
Arizona Cardinals shouldn’t worry about trade value, draft position
For starters, the Cardinals already have the Houston Texans first pick, so if Murray plays well upon his return, it’s not like the Cards are dramatically losing their chance at snagging a top ten pick. It’s also appropriate to acknowledge that there are no guarantees a top ten pick will be successful (Andre Wadsworth, Jonathan Cooper, Josh Rosen, anyone?), so the fact that Murray playing and winning a few more games while sacrificing one higher draft pick shouldn’t concern you.
As for trade value, here is my take: Suppose Murray plays lights out and the Cardinals, for some unknown reason, want to shop him anyway. How many NFL general managers are going to take a chance on Murray’s current contract? I doubt any of the other 31 executives would.
On the other hand, if Murray returns and puts up poor numbers for the second time in as many seasons, then you can use a pair of top picks to further build around him and try again for 2024. If it isn’t there, then you can trade or release him, save $12.4 million, and take the $33.214 million in dead cap. Or, you can release or trade him after June 1st, 2025, save $32.607 million, and split the dead cap across two seasons.
Overall, the Arizona Cardinals can’t lose by playing Kyler Murray in 2023 unless they allow themselves to, which general manager Monti Ossenfort plays the front office game correctly, shouldn’t happen. Murray will either prove he can revert back to form, or he won’t, but if the latter occurs, then they can make plans to replace him not in 2024, but in 2025.
Source: Pros outweigh cons of Cardinals rolling out Kyler Murray in 2023 by Tyler Drake, ArizonaSports.com
(Cap information provided by Spotrac)