The Cardinals are preparing for a playoff game this weekend. Contracts are not top of mind for anyone.
But Monday was the first day that quarterback Kyler Murray is eligible for a contract extension, and that will remain a topic of interest until it is ultimately settled.
Under the CBA, rookies cannot get a contract extension/adjustment until the day after their third regular season ends. We have arrived at that moment for the Class of 2019, and while that includes on this roster cornerback Byron Murphy, among others, Kyler is the one to watch.
First, the facts: Murray remains under contract through 2022, and by May the Cardinals have to decide if they will pick up the team option for 2023. Absent a new contract, that surely will happen. Without an extension, Murray is set to make $965,000 in salary in 2022 according to overthecap.com, with $4.5 million in a roster bonus (all guaranteed) with a salary cap number of a little more than $11M.
If the Cardinals pick up his fifth-year option, it'll be worth $28.58M (bumped up almost $3M because of his two Pro Bowl selections in his first three years.)
Murray's cap number this year is less than $10M. That is why this season has been so important, and why GM Steve Keim has mentioned often the ability to build with Murray on his rookie deal. Because eventually, good QBs get paid, and eventually, that has a major impact on the salary cap.
Keim has a ton of work ahead this offseason, whenever it arrives. Chandler Jones, Christian Kirk, Chase Edmonds, A.J. Green and Zach Ertz are among the free-agents-to-be. But Murray will be a subject too, and Keim has to find that balance of potentially delaying the inevitable, yet also knowing that with every big QB contract done, Murray's price goes up.