The latest domino in NFL player contracts fell into place on Thursday, as quarterback Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals agreed on a contract extension that keeps the two-time Pro Bowler in the desert through 2028.
The five-year extension will pay Murray $230.5 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and includes $160 million in guaranteed money.
It also helps put to rest an offseason of drama between the 24-year-old Murray and the organization that was in part sparked by the quarterback’s agent going public with his thoughts on Murray needing a new deal.
Murray was already under contract through the 2023 season, after the Cardinals exercised his fifth-year option back in April. He’s set to make $5.3 million this season, according to team writer Darren Urban, and $29.7 million next year.
The Cardinals’ veterans report to camp next Tuesday, July 26.
How does Kyler Murray’s contract extension rank against other top NFL contracts?
Murray will make an average annual salary of $46.1 million, per Schefter, which makes him the second-highest player leaguewide behind only Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ($50.3 million).
It also puts Murray just ahead of Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShaun Watson ($46 million) and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahones ($45 million) in average annual salary, according to Spotrac.
Murray’s $160 million in guaranteed money ranks second league-wide behind only Watson ($230 million), according to the Arizona Republic’s Bob McManamon.
To put it in perspective, Murray’s $46.1 million annual salary nearly equals the entire 2022 payroll of the Oakland Athletics, the baseball team that drafted him ninth overall back in 2018, according to Yahoo Sports.
There are expectations for Murray that will come with such a lucrative contract, ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss said.
“To prove Murray was worthy of a contract … Murray needs to do more than get Arizona back to the postseason in 2022. He needs to win a playoff game. At least one,” Weinfuss wrote. “That won’t be easy without his best offensive playmaker, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who is suspended for the first six games of the season, not to mention bucking the recent history of going into a tailspin in the second half of seasons.”
What does Kyler Murray’s contract extension mean for other NFL quarterbacks?
The quarterback who could benefit the most from this is the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson.
Jackson is set to make $23 million this season on the final year of his rookie contract, per Spotrac. He reported to training camp on Thursday, but the Ravens haven’t locked their 25-year-old starter — who was the NFL MVP in 2019 — into a long-term contract yet.
“If you’re Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, really the question is, does he want to do a deal?” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said during a TV segment Thursday.
“The fact he reported today, that fact that he looks good — all positives for the Baltimore Ravens. We just don’t know where it’s going to go from here.”
Last week, Spotrac’s Michaell Ginnitti rated the NFL’s starting quarterbacks into different tiers, based on their financial situation, and included Murray and Jackson into the tier titled, “Who blinks first?”
“Despite plenty of ‘reports,’ the fact of the matter is that a new contract for Lamar Jackson doesn’t currently exist, and it appears that will be the case for the 2022 season,” Ginnitti wrote. “This means that an exclusive franchise tag is likely coming next February, putting plenty of pressure on the Ravens to resolve this. He projects to a 4 year, $176M extension in our system.”