His production got the Cardinals a surprising 11-6 regular season record (after winning their first seven games), as well as his second straight Pro Bowl nod.
In doing so, Murray seemed to somewhat silence his critics, who said that his modest size (5-foot-10 and just over 200 pounds) would prevent him from becoming a top-flight QB in the National Football League.
Now, he is about due for a contract extension, and it looks like he may hold out until he gets one.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 14, 2022
CBS Sports has reported that Murray will likely command top dollar.
“Murray’s projected market value is valued at six years for just over $258 million, according to Spotrac,” wrote Bryan DeArdo. “That averages out to an annual salary of just over $43 million. That is essentially the same contract the Bills signed Josh Allen to last August. Allen was entering the fourth year of his rookie contract at the time of his extension.”
Some may balk at paying Murray that much coin, but he will be worth every penny for a few reasons.
3. Murray Was Prolific In 2021 When His Wide Receivers Were Healthy
Through the first half of the 2021 campaign, the Cardinals were one of the league’s biggest stories.
Coming into the season, at least according to one source, they only had the 15th-best odds of winning the Super Bowl.
But as September turned into October, Arizona started looking like a dark-horse contender, and Murray was the chief reason.
In each of the first eight contests of the year, he put up at least 229 passing yards while throwing for a total of 17 touchdowns and posting a very strong 72.66 percent completion rate.
Those numbers are certainly worthy of a $40 million-plus annual contract.
Critics will point to the rest of the season, in which Murray came down to Earth, as the reason why he isn’t worth humongous money.
But he has a valid excuse, as DeAndre Hopkins, the team’s star wide receiver, was able to play in only two contests after Week 8.
Murray’s production, as well as the entire team’s production, dropped like a rock without Hopkins.
Kyler Murray career TD rate in games with DeAndre Hopkins: 5.12%
For reference, Teddy Bridgewater has a 3.6% career rate. Josh Allen's career rate is 5.2%.
— Heath Cummings (@heathcummingssr) January 4, 2022
DeAndre Hopkins' absence has been devastating for Kyler Murray and the Cardinals passing attack (via @SportsInfo_SIS)
With Nuk on field, Arizona is 1st in yards per attempt (8.8) and 3rd-best in EPA per play (0.21).
Without Nuk? They're 16th in YPA (7.0) and 24th in EPA (0.0). pic.twitter.com/ZsPPlx8mvi
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) January 11, 2022
Hopkins will be forced to miss six games this coming season after violating the league’s anti-drug policy, but luckily Arizona now has Marquise Brown, and if Brown is as good as he thinks he is, Murray can continue to put up big numbers even without Hopkins.
2. Murray Makes Things Happen With His Legs
If some want to argue that Murray isn’t that prolific with his arm, they do have to admit that he is prolific with his legs.
This past season he had 423 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 88 attempts, which came a year after he registered 819 yards and 11 scores on 133 running attempts.
It could be argued that other than the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and possibly Allen, no QB in today’s NFL is a better dual-threat signal-caller than Murray.
1. The Market Has Been Set
With new contracts this offseason for superstars such as Aaron Rodgers, who just inked a three-year extension worth about $50 million a year, there is a rising tide in the NFL that is lifting all big boats.
No, Murray is not in the same exact class as Rodgers, or perhaps Patrick Mahomes or Allen, who will make $45 million and $43 million, respectively, this coming season, but if he’s not far off, maybe $40 million a year would be fair for him.
If the Cardinals are serious about winning their first-ever Super Bowl, they will pony up the dough to keep Murray in Metro Phoenix.