Let’s make one thing very, very clear: The Arizona Cardinals shouldn’t trade Kyler Murray.
In a season where the Cardinals are 4-8 and have shattered all expectations for the year, there are a handful of fans who want to rid the franchise of Murray and move on to other adventures.
To save a lot of time here – no. Arizona has long waited for a franchise quarterback of its own to come through those doors, and while Murray certainly falls short in some aspects, it’s driving him out of town just to try and replace him with a man of only hope that he’s as talented as Murray would be just silly.
But you can’t Yes, really rule everything out, especially when the Cardinals make a change of scenery at either the head coach or the general manager. There is a chance (albeit very slim) that a new regime will invade Arizona and decide to go in a different direction.
Murray recently signed a five-year, $230.5 million deal that includes a $29,035,000 signing bonus and a $189,500,000 guarantee, according to Spotrac. Murray will earn an average annual salary of $46,100,000.
Here’s what it would cost to trade Murray from a salary perspective:
ESPN’s Dan Graziano has looked at 12 different quarterback contracts – from Aaron Rodgers to Jimmy Garoppolo – and discussed how complicated it would be (in terms of salary) to postpone them.
Murray’s new deal complicates things later, but there’s a window that would be optimal for a deal, Graziano says.
“The key date for the Cardinals is the start of the league year, 2024, at which point nearly $31 million in guaranteed salary and bonuses will be fully guaranteed for 2025. If the Cardinals decide to cut Murray after the 2023 season, they paid him $103.3 million for two years of service and they would hit a dead-money cap of about $81.5 million in 2024 suffer (or if they suffer it after 1
“If the Cardinals wanted to trade Murray after this season and could do so before purchasing the 2023 option, they would only carry a fee of $23.228 million on their 2023 cap. But to do that, they would have to convince a team to accept a contract that guarantees Murray about $75 million over the next two years.”
In short, the sooner the better if the Cardinals want to move on. Here’s an annual breakdown of Murray’s deal on Spotrac:
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported on more than 30 bonuses (roster, performance, etc.) for Murray, which you can find detailed here.
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“The contract has a $160 million injury guarantee at signing and a $103.3 million guarantee at signing. A total of $9.315 million is committed to participation in the offseason program, the most for any player in the league,” Florio said.
“Per-game roster bonuses depend on game attendance totaling $4.25 million, also the highest for any quarterback in the league.”
Arizona would need to find a team that both has the salary cap to get things off the ground and needs a franchise quarterback. It’s difficult to project into the future when it comes to cap space, while teams that really need a passer may be able to draw one of the best quarterbacks in the class this year or get up in the draft.
Ultimately, Murray will likely stay in the desert. There are too many reasons for Murray to stay with the Cardinals despite outside calls.
Should Arizona want to move on, it could be quite costly if they don’t move it in time.
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