One week after it was announced, Kyler Murray’s huge new contract got a key update: The Arizona Cardinals shared Thursday that the quarterback will no longer be obligated to log four hours of independent study during each game week.
“After seeing the distraction it created, we removed the addendum from the contract. It was clearly perceived in ways that were never intended. Our confidence in Kyler Murray is as high as it’s ever been and nothing demonstrates our belief in his ability to lead this team more than the commitment reflected in this contract,” reads the team’s official statement, which was shared by NFL insider Ian Rapoport on Twitter.
Although the independent study rules were just one small part of the $230.5 million contract, they’ve dominated media reports on Murray in the past week. NFL analysts have questioned whether the 24-year-old quarterback has the work ethic to succeed in the league, while social media users tried to uncover a link between the release of new video games and Murray’s on-field performance.
Here’s an overview of the drama surrounding the independent-study addendum:
What’s included in Kyler Murray’s new contract?
Under the new contract extension, Murray gets $160 million in guaranteed money and up to $230.5 million total for five additional years with the Arizona Cardinals. The young quarterback is now under contract until 2028.
“The average annual value of Murray’s deal is $46.1 million, which is the second highest in the NFL behind only Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers,” ESPN reported on July 21.
What did the independent study addendum say?
Four days after those first contract details emerged, Rapoport shared a surprising screenshot from the document, showing that Murray had agreed to more than just trying to stay healthy and showing up for team meetings.
“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,” Rapoport reported.
Specifically, the contract said that Murray needed to spend at least four hours during game weeks reviewing material, like game film, provided to him by the team. Study time wouldn’t count toward the four hours if the quarterback simultaneously watched television or played video games, it said.
“Player shall receive no credit for independent study for any period during which the player does not personally study the provided material in good faith,” the contract said.
How did people react to the independent study rules?
The screenshot Rapoport shared spawned thousands of articles, podcast episodes and tweets. Some NFL reporters claimed that they’d never seen such an addendum included in a contract.
“Never seen this in 30 years of looking at NFL contracts. Strange they’ll give him $46 million a year (on extension years) yet worry about 4 hours a week of studying,” tweeted Andrew Brandt after the news broke.
Cardinal coach Kliff Kingsbury spoke on the contract drama Tuesday, arguing that the hubbub surrounding the addendum had gotten out of control, according to The Washington Post.
“Negotiations are negotiations, everybody has their things and wants different stuff. I’m just thrilled that this young man got what I felt he deserves,” he said.
Murray himself addressed the addendum on Thursday, telling reporters at the Cardinals’ training camp that commentary on his work ethics was “disrespectful.”
“Kyler did say he was ‘flattered’ that people could think he could have this much success without preparation for the game,” tweeted Cardinals reporter Darren Urban.
How did the Arizona Cardinals adjust Murray’s contract?
Hours after Murray spoke with the press, the team announced the contract updates. The actual change to the contract was made on Wednesday, Rapoport said.
He and others have reported that the team removed the addendum in hopes that the drama surrounding it would die out.
The Cardinals had faced criticism for addressing concerns about Murray’s study habits in the contract, instead of in private talks, ESPN reported.