The Arizona Cardinals made their feelings about starting quarterback Kyler Murray very clear this offseason, agreeing to terms on a massive contract extension that will keep the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback with the team through the 2028-29 NFL season.
Arizona clearly feels very confident that Murray will be the quarterback to lead them to postseason success, making the huge investment of $230.5 million, which includes $160 million guaranteed, over the duration of the deal.
While many within the organization have been singing the praises of Murray, there is a strange clause in this new contract extension that is certainly raising eyebrows around the NFL world. According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, there is an addendum in Murray’s contract that requires him to do four hours of “independent study” per game week.
Contracts are about give-and-take. One example from #AZCardinals QB Kyler Murray’s $230.5M contract: There is an addendum that requires 4 hours of “independent study” per game week. It was important to the team making a commitment at that level, thus it was important to Murray. pic.twitter.com/VqrkvoBQLJ
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 25, 2022
In the statement from the Independent Study Appendum posted by Rapoport, Murray will have to do an “independent film study,” which is material provided by the team aside from the mandatory meeting throughout the week during the season.
While this is a great thing for both the Cardinals and Murray as they prepare for the upcoming season, it is a bit strange that they need to ask him to do this in writing instead of that just being chalked up as an expectation as a starting quarterback in the NFL. And people around the NFL world certainly noticed.
What in the name of JaMarcus Russell's blank DVDs is this?? https://t.co/HIimUwgacf
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 25, 2022
In a 2021 interview with the New York Times, Kyler Murray said: "I’m not one of those guys that’s going to sit there and kill myself watching film."
2022 Kyler Murray is about to sit there and watch film: https://t.co/M2bPBhKHB8
— Sarah Kezele (@SarahKezele) July 25, 2022
This is bizarre. If you are concerned about nonsense like this then you shouldn't sign the guy. This just sounds like an attempt to manufacture a "get out of jail" free clause. https://t.co/wnMkrx20Hh
— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) July 25, 2022
If you have to include a clause like this in a player's contract, maybe he's not a player you should give $160M guaranteed to? https://t.co/IBRxKGP5eM
— Carrington Harrison (@cdotharrison) July 25, 2022
Add this to the outsized workout bonuses (h/t @ProFootballTalk), and the message the Cardinals are sending Kyler Murray is clear—they expect more of him as a leader after paying him at the top of the market.
Murray hasn't had a full offseason with the team since becoming a pro. https://t.co/C8kpo3dPKl
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 25, 2022
I cannot believe they basically had to put "you can't play video games while we are studying film" into one of the richest contracts in sports history https://t.co/0zdhNoidKS
— Chris Hassel (@Hassel_Chris) July 25, 2022
It certainly shows a level of mistrust between the Cardinals and Murray that this needed to be involved in the contract. Given the massive amount guaranteed to the quarterback in this contract, you would expect that he wouldn’t need to be monitored to watch game film on his own time.
Murray is obviously a great athlete, and this could be a great thing for his career moving forward, but if this contract clause is any indication, he has a long way to go if he wants to be among the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.