Thursday's NFL: Kyler Murray, Cardinals agree to contract through 2028 season
Tempe, Ariz. — The drama is over and the decision is in: Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals have made a long-term commitment to each other with a new contract that would keep the quarterback in the desert through the 2028 season.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection was taken with the No. 1 overall pick out of Oklahoma after he won the Heisman Trophy and has largely delivered in his quest to make the Cardinals a better franchise.
The team announced the new contract on Thursday. ESPN reported that the contract could be worth $230.5 million, with $160 million guaranteed.
Murray’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.
Murray’s new contract puts him on par with other young star quarterbacks throughout the league like Buffalo’s Josh Allen, who signed a deal worth more than $250 million last season. Murray will make an average of more than $46 million per season, which is similar to other elite quarterbacks such as Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Allen.
Listed at just 5-foot-10, some around the NFL worried the 24-year-old Murray was too short to be a dominant pro quarterback, but his stats through three seasons prove otherwise.
He’s completed nearly 67% of his passes through 46 career games for 11,480 yards and 70 touchdowns while rushing for 1,786 yards and 20 TDs. Murray is particularly good at extending plays with his feet, using his scrambling ability for spectacular gains.
Arizona had a 5-10-1 record during his rookie season in 2019 but the Cardinals improved to 11-6 last season before losing to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Wild Card round during the playoffs.
The deal brings an end to a strange, passive-aggressive offseason contract squabble. At one point, Murray wiped his social media accounts of all references to the Cardinals and it wasn’t clear whether the franchise was ready to make a long-term investment.
The two sides appeared to be on a path toward reconciliation over the past few months. GM Steve Keim said that there was “zero chance” Murray would be traded and the quarterback put on social media that he wanted to win Super Bowls with the Cardinals and called Arizona “home.”
The Cardinals had already picked up Murray’s fifth-year option for the 2023 season, further easing tensions, but Thursday’s news puts an end to any lingering questions.
Now Murray can take the field for training camp next week knowing his football future is secure. The Cardinals face plenty of challenges in 2022, including navigating the first six games without star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who was suspended for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Murray and fourth-year coach Kliff Kingsbury are under significant pressure to produce this fall after last year’s late-season collapse. The Cardinals looked like one of the NFL’s best teams in 2021 after starting with a 10-2 record, but lost four of their last five regular-season games before getting beat 34-11 by the Rams in the wild card round.
Browns work out QBs
The Cleveland Browns reached an agreement Thursday with free agent quarterback Josh Rosen on a one-year contract, giving them another veteran as they await a ruling on Deshaun Watson, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
Rosen, who was on Cleveland's radar before the 2018 draft, will officially sign the contract Friday, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the deal.
The 25-year-old Rosen worked out this week for the Browns along with A.J. McCarron as they make contingency plans in case Watson is suspended by the NFL.
The Browns want to open training camp next week with four quarterbacks, according to the person.
Watson is facing a possible NFL suspension after being accused by two dozen female massage therapists of sexual misconduct during sessions while the three-time Pro Bowler played for the Houston Texans.
Former federal judge Sue L. Robinson, the league's disciplinary officer, is deciding whether Watson, who was traded to the Browns in March, has violated the personal conduct policy.
If Watson is suspended, the Browns intend to go with veteran Jacoby Brissett as their starter and Rosen as his backup.
Brissett has started 37 games during his pro career with New England, Indianapolis and Miami. He signed as a free agent one day after Cleveland enticed Watson to waive his no-trade clause with a five-year, $230 million contract that's fully guaranteed.
Josh Dobbs is also on Cleveland's roster, but the 27-year-old has never started an NFL game and the Browns wanted to bring in another veteran in case Watson is out for multiple games.
Rosen was one of several top college quarterbacks the Browns considered drafting with the first overall pick in 2018 before choosing Baker Mayfield. Cleveland dealt Mayfield to Carolina earlier this month after agreeing to pick up $10 million of his salary for 2022.
Rosen was drafted 10th that year by Arizona. He went 3-13 in starts for the Cardinals and Miami. He was with Atlanta last season and appeared in four games.
The 31-year-old McCarron nearly came to Cleveland in a 2017 trade from Cincinnati, but the deal was voided when the Browns failed to file the appropriate paperwork with the league on time. McCarron also has played for Oakland and Houston.
'Thursday Night Football' additions
Prime Video’s crew for “Thursday Night Football” is nearly set, less than two months before its first regular-season game.
Kaylee Hartung has been hired by Amazon as the sideline reporter while Andrew Whitworth and Aqib Talib have signed on as contributors for pregame, halftime and postgame coverage.
Prime Video’s regular-season debut as the exclusive home of the primetime package comes on Sept. 15 when Kansas City hosts the Los Angeles Chargers.
Hartung returns to sports after five years with ABC News and CNN. She previously was a sideline reporter for ESPN, primarily for SEC football and college basketball.
Hartung will be paired with play-by-play announcer Al Michaels and analyst Kirk Herbstreit for the game coverage. Hartung and Herbstreit did a few events together for ESPN, but were never part of the same weekly crew until now on Prime Video.
Whitworth, who capped a 16-year NFL career by helping to lead the Rams to a Super Bowl championship, joins Ryan Fitzpatrick and Richard Sherman as part of a studio crew who played last season. The former offensive tackle and Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year recipient received plenty of interest from networks before deciding on Prime Video.
Talib played 12 years in the NFL — including winning a Super Bowl title with Denver — before retiring after the 2019 season. He had done some NFL games for Fox the past two seasons.
It was announced earlier that Charissa Thompson and Tony Gonzalez also will be on pregame, halftime and postgame coverage.