Arizona Cardinals will likely have to pass on a stud quarterback in 2024

ACC Championship - Clemson v North Carolina
ACC Championship - Clemson v North Carolina / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Kyler Murray's exorbitant contract will likely prohibit the Arizona Cardinals from drafting highly-touted quarterback Drake Maye in 2024.

Over the past three months, Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort has been cleaning up the mess that the previous regime left behind. It's no secret that former GM Steve Keim and his cohorts made a boatload of mistakes that need to be corrected. There's one particular blunder, however, that could prevent the Cardinals from reaching their full potential any time soon.

Last summer, Keim signed starting quarterback Kyler Murray to a five-year, $230.5 million contract extension. The new deal includes $160 million in guarantees, and will more than likely force the front office to keep the 25-year-old around for at least two more seasons. Unfortunately, the agreement with Murray could cause the Cards to miss out on an outstanding opportunity to upgrade at the position in 2024.

Drake Maye, a sensational passer out of the University of North Carolina, is expected to be one of the top prospects selected when next year's NFL Draft rolls around. At 6 foot 5, 220 pounds, Maye possesses the size that many professional franchises look for in a signal-caller. Add to that a phenomenal skill-set, and what you have is a youngster who's brimming with Super Bowl-winning potential.

What Maye was able to accomplish for the Tar Heels in 2022 is nothing short of spectacular. In 14 starts, the 20-year-old completed 66.2% of his passes for 4,321 yards and 38 touchdowns. Maye tossed just seven interceptions, and walked away with ACC Player of the Year honors for his efforts.

While Murray has shown flashes of greatness at times, his lack of size (5 foot 10, 207 pounds) is holding him back. Attempting to complete throws with much taller offensive and defensive linemen battling in front of him has limited his progression as an NFL player. There must be plenty of instances when Cards pass-catchers are open and Murray simply doesn't see them.

The Arizona Cardinals will likely possess the draft capital it would take to obtain stud quarterback Drake Maye in 2024

The injury factor that comes along with a tiny QB like Murray has also become a concern. Over the last two campaigns, the two-time Pro Bowler has missed a total of nine matchups. There will also be more time on the sidelines for Murray in 2023, thanks to the torn ACL that he suffered last December.

Thanks to Ossenfort's wheeling and dealing this past Thursday night, Arizona will have an extra first-round pick to utilize 12 months from now. That selection was acquired in a trade with the lowly Houston Texans, a squad that is expected to win very few games again in '23. The same could be said about the Redbirds, so there's a reasonable chance that Ossenfort could quite possibly be armed with two top-10 choices to work with during next year's draft.

Ossenfort deserves a round of applause for the impressive amount of compensation he managed to finagle out of the Texans. With that type of ammunition, the Cardinals could be in a position to move up (if the situation calls for it) and land the highly-touted Maye. A package that could include one or two of the opening-round selections could prove to be more than enough to make that maneuver a reality.

As tempting as that sounds, it's the contract that Murray was handed last summer that could prohibit Ossenfort from trading up and grabbing a stud like Maye. According to, moving on from Murray would leave over $97 million of dead salary-cap space in '23 and over $81 million of unusable funds in '24. Finding an organization who'd be willing to take on the Texas native's exorbitant contract could also be an obstacle.

Murray's detractors will likely have to live with the fact that Arizona is stuck with the polarizing veteran for the time being. The regrettable extension he coaxed out of the franchise last summer was just the latest in a long line of miscalculations by the previous regime. Having to pass on a potential superstar like Maye because of one awful decision could prove to be the hardest pill to swallow for the Cards' new hierarchy.

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(Statistics provided by Wikipedia)