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For Kyler Murray, New Contract Is 'Just The Start'

Quarterback vows to fulfill his promise as long-term Cardinal

Quarterback Kyler Murray (right) smiles as Cardinals GM Steve Keim looks on during Murray's contract extension press conference on Friday.
Quarterback Kyler Murray (right) smiles as Cardinals GM Steve Keim looks on during Murray's contract extension press conference on Friday.

Kyler Murray had just finished up a short sit-down interview Friday, his official press conference to talk about his mammoth contract extension still some 45 minutes away.

The Cardinals quarterback was being congratulated for the deal, but his reaction was muted.

"I'm telling you, nothing really changes," he said with a slight smile. "It's a payday, yeah. But I'm most excited about getting back on the field."

Payday, of course, is a bit of an understatement, with a contract that now runs through 2028, with a fully guaranteed $105 million in his crosshairs and inevitably millions more on a deal that could pay him as much as $235 million if he played out the contract. Given that Murray doesn't turn 25 until Aug. 7, that's possible.

Yet, when Murray says such a thing, it's believable. Nothing really does change for a player who always thought he would be good enough to get here, to capture a mega-contract, whatever the monetary total might be.

"My agent (Erik Burkhardt) will tell you, it's been tough to get me to crack a smile the last couple of days, because I am solely focused on football," Murray said later in the press conference.

This may be Year 4 but, the QB emphasized, it's "just the start."

"For me it's always been about fulfilling my promise," Murray said, "which is hopefully one day to bring a championship to this organization."

The drama of the offseason was long past. Murray said multiple times that Arizona was "where I want to be." Owner Michael Bidwill was not in attendance, yet to return from his vacation, although he and Keim were on the phone often leading up to the deal. (Swoosh, Murray's bulldog, was at the press conference, along with his parents.)

Early in the offseason, Keim and coach Kliff Kingsbury flew to Dallas to talk to Kyler and his parents, to have a dialogue and, Keim said, to make sure each side "understood expectations."

Meanwhile, the storyline didn't go away, especially after the February newscycle was dominated by Murray's Instagram scrub and, more impactfully, Burkhardt's lengthy statement on Twitter trying to get a contract ASAP.

"This is where I want to be, I made that clear," Murray said. "Moreso the bad days I was talking about was the negativity and taking the heat in social media and all that stuff, which, I give (Burkhardt) a little crap for, because he put a lot of it on me."

"I understood it was part of the business."

Everyone was far from that on Friday, with the first training camp practice next week.

Murray's salary cap number actually rose a bit from where it was supposed to be on his original contract this year, but at $12.7 million this year and $16M next year, it's helpfully low for a team who will try to build a roster around the quarterback.

Murray's cap number jumps to more than $50M in 2024, but the overall cap will also jump significantly by then too.

"Not only is the player taken care of, there are some team-friendly things in there," Keim said. "That says a lot about him as a teammate."

Part of the contract, as reported by profootballtalk.com, was that $9.3 million of the compensation is tied to Murray attending offseason voluntary workouts. That should mean Murray will be around the bulk of the offseason, something the organization thinks is important as the team builds chemistry each year.

But that's just part of the white-hot spotlight Murray will have on him now, given his deal.

"It's pressure I've always wanted," Murray said. "I don't feel the pressure, but at the end of the day, I've always been the quarterback and everybody who plays quarterback understands the leadership aspect, the pressure aspect. It comes with the position."

At the end of the press conference, the mic was given not to another media member but instead a teammate – backup quarterback Colt McCoy had a query, sitting among fellow quarterbacks Trace McSorley and Jarret Guarantano.

"The quarterbacks want to know if you are going to be at the walkthrough tomorrow," McCoy deadpanned.

Murray smiled but didn't say anything at first, and the room chuckled.

"Yeah, I'll be there," Murray finally said.

It was time to get back on the field.

Images of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray at the team facility after the announcement of his contract extension

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