The Kyler Murray contract extension saga was indeed a saga between him and the Arizona Cardinals that took place over the first half of 2022 and beyond.
If you don’t believe me, here’s the ridiculous timeline of events that brought us to Thursday’s conclusion of Murray signing an extension through 2028 worth $230.5 million.
It was … something.
Jan. 17 — Loss to Rams, season ends
Murray was 19-of-34 for 137 yards with two interceptions in the embarrassing 34-11 loss for the Cardinals in the NFC Wild Card Game. It was an awful end to the season, which seemed to be what to be the most concerned about until …
Feb. 7 — THE SCRUBBING
Fans noticed that Murray had removed all of his photos on Instagram except two and wasn’t following the Cardinals on Instagram or Twitter. Both photos still up were not of him in a Cardinals jersey. This would be what really got speculation on Murray’s happiness in Arizona out of the driveway and then it received a nitrous boost on Super Bowl Sunday.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen on the day of The Big Game reported Murray felt like he was the scapegoat of the Cardinals’ playoff defeat and that sources described Murray as self-centered, immature and a finger-pointer.
The Cardinals issued a statement: “Nothing has changed regarding our opinion and high regard for Kyler Murray. We as a team and Kyler individually have improved each year he’s been in the league. We are excited to continue that improvement in 2022 and are excited that Kyler Murray is the quarterback leading us.”
Feb. 14 — Kyler speaks (digitally, on a notes app screenshot. Looks more like an Instagram story text blurb, actually. Whatever.)
Murray posted a statement on his social media accounts the day after the report.
An excerpt: “All of this nonsense is not what I’m about, never has been, never will be.”
Nothing to see here! Move along!
“I’m not a social media guy … I think there was a lot of interpretation around that that was inconsistent with the conversations that not just I have had, but I know (coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim) have had — positive conversations that are going in the right direction,” Bidwill said.
Feb. 28 — THE STATEMENT WITH A BAD FONT CHOICE
The news cycle that started with an Instagram scrubbing gets even more wacky with an objectively hilarious statement released by Murray’s agent that’s sole reason for existence is for people to read it but winds up being difficult to read because of the font.
The statement, once you zoom in and slowly diagnose it like an archaeologist, reads that Murray’s camp “sent a detailed contract proposal to the organization” that aligns with the quarterback market, “lowers his 2022-23 salary cap number” and “most importantly represents a real commitment from the organization to see if their ultimate goals align with his.”
The head coach and general manager comment from the NFL Combine on what has turned into a full-fledged mess. They don’t say much.
March 8 — THE UNSCRUBBING
The posts on Instagram are back! You can do that! They are not deleted. Can just bring ’em back. This is more useful for high school sophomores who break up only to immediately get back together with their ex for the third time in the fall semester. Jennifer and Chris will just never figure it out, will they?
March 24 — Kyler speaks on commitment to Cardinals
Murray at a charity event speaks with the media for the first time since the season ended.
“I’m an Arizona Cardinal,” Murray told reporters. “I have done nothing but give my all to the Cardinals, will continue to do that. I’m not really too worried about my future as a Cardinal.”
April 14 — AGENT PULLED CONTRACT OFFER *GASP*
More dramatic negotiations at work! Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro reported the offer coming from Murray’s camp — not sure that’s how this works by the way — on a contract structure had been taken off the table.
April 21 — Murray tweets again
Everything is chill! Murray tweets “I wanna win Super Bowls with the Cardinals, AZ is home.”
We gotta work on that comma use, Kyler.
April 27 — Cardinals exercise 5th-year option
As expected, the Cardinals retain the services of their very good quarterback for as long as possible under his current contract.
April 28 — THE TRADE FOR HIS BFF
Besties reunited! Arizona trades the No. 23 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft for Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Hollywood Brown, who Murray played with at Oklahoma and is tight with. Buzz grows on if this was a move that’s primary motivation was to make Murray happy, ignoring the logic of the Cardinals really needing another wide receiver and a deep threat specifically.
May 23 — Kyler not at OTAs still
Still not coming to work yet. Voluntary, though. Like that work outing you’re not getting paid to be at but you should probably at least show your face there to be a good employee. Make sure everyone sees you were there and leave once they all get a drink or two in them.
See?! Kyler gets it!
June 14 — HE’S THERE AGAIN (now mandatory)
This was as close to some relief as Cardinals fans could get that everything is all good and it’s just negotiators negotiating.
July 21 — IT’S OVER (Extension agreed upon)
Five weeks passed and we all looked around like, “Wait, isn’t this when he was supposed to sign it?”
And then he did!