Kyler Murray may not play for the Arizona Cardinals at all in 2023

The injury guarantee clause in the quarterback's contract could make the Arizona Cardinals fearful of playing him this coming season.
Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings
Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings / David Berding/GettyImages

Last week, on the Pat McAfee Show, longtime NFL executive Mike Lombardi had some interesting things to say about the Arizona Cardinals quarterback situation. It's the opinion of the one-time Cleveland Browns general manager that the Redbirds could elect to bench starting signal-caller Kyler Murray for the entire upcoming campaign. It's kind of an outlandish idea that may not be as far-fetched as many members of the "Red Sea" would think.

Lombardi cited the injury guarantee clause in Murray's contract and the money that the Cards would be on the hook for if the passer injured himself further in 2023. If first-year GM Monti Ossenfort is having thoughts about moving on from the 26-year-old next offseason, it would be quite risky for the organization to put Murray in harm's way this coming fall.

""(Kyler) Murray has $56 million coming and has the potential to earn $92 million that are only protected by the injury guarantee clause. If I were (Monti) Ossenfort and (head coach) Jonathan Gannon, there's no chance I'm putting Murray on the field and risking that I'm going to have to fully guarantee a contract that I'm not sure I want to fully guarantee.""

Mike Lombardi

Read into that statement as you will, but it surely appears as if Lombardi believes that Arizona's regime may not be sold on the polarizing Murray. The 5 foot 10, 207 pounder regressed badly in 2022, posting an ugly 3-8 record as a starter. With that being the case, it would not be surprising if Ossenfort and Gannon would want to move ahead with their own hand-picked starter at the quarterback position.

Arizona Cardinals could be looking to replace quarterback Kyler Murray in 2024

Thanks to some extremely questionable moves during the past several months, the Cardinals front office has been accused of tanking. Noteworthy contributors such as DeAndre Hopkins, Isaiah Simmons, and Colt McCoy were handed their walking papers. Ossenfort also showed very little interest in retaining worthwhile free agents like Zach Allen and Byron Murphy Jr.

The Cards will be sitting pretty during the 2024 draft if the team performs as bad as many observers believe they will this season. Thanks to a shrewd trade made by Ossenfort this past April, the club will also have the lowly Houston Texans' first-round choice to play with next spring.

Drake Maye, a 6 foot 4, 230 pound QB out of the University of North Carolina, would be incredibly enticing. During the Tar Heels' season-opening triumph over the University of South Carolina, the 21-year-old Maye completed 75% of his passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Caleb Williams, another highly-touted prospect out of USC, could also be on Arizona's radar.

When the Cardinals take to the field this coming Sunday, it will be either journeyman Josh Dobbs or rookie Clayton Tune under center. Murray was placed on the PUP list last week, meaning the two-time Pro Bowler will be sidelined for at least four weeks because of the torn ACL he suffered last December. The absence could be a whole lot longer if Lombardi's belief about the Cards franchise turning it's back on Murray ultimately comes to fruition.


(Statistics provided by College Football Reference)