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Byron Murphy Departs For Minnesota In Free Agency

Cornerback getting two-year deal with Vikings

The question was what would happen this free-agent period to the Cardinals' top two free-agents-to-be: cornerback Byron Murphy and defensive lineman Zach Allen. Allen agreed to a three-year deal with the Broncos Monday, and many hoped it would turn out that Murphy would end up staying. He did not.

Tuesday evening news broke that Murphy was going to accept a two-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings -- a team that had a hole at the position after letting another former Cardinal, Patrick Peterson, depart.

The deal was potentially worth a reported $22 million, although the structure will be interesting to see. It could be set up a bunch of different ways, but it is possible this will be a prove-it deal for Murphy, who played in only nine games last season with a nagging back injury. (And indeed, Murphy still will have to pass a physical before signing on Wednesday.) But even if it is prove-it, that worked out fine for another former Cardinals draft pick, Haason Reddick, when he went to Carolina in 2021.

The Vikings filled a hole and now the Cardinals have a big one at the position, with Marco Wilson the only guy under contract who played significant snaps last season (rookie Christian Matthew did get some work late). The 2019 draft was fruitful for the Cardinals, with the first three rounds featuring Kyler Murray, Murphy and Allen (and Andy Isabella, but that's a blog for another time.) Murphy and Allen were solid players but now have new addresses.

Players can begin signing with teams that aren't their own beginning Wednesday at 1 p.m. Arizona time. The Cardinals will continue to add to the roster -- more signings will come Wednesday and as the week goes on -- but it's impossible to deny losing Murphy, on top of Allen, won't hurt.

Byron Murphy Jr. (right) and Kyler Murray after Murphy's game-winning touchdown in overtime at Las Vegas last season.
Byron Murphy Jr. (right) and Kyler Murray after Murphy's game-winning touchdown in overtime at Las Vegas last season.

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