ARIZONA CARDINALS

Kingsbury: Justin Murray reduced Cardinals’ OT needs in NFL Draft

Feb 25, 2020, 12:31 PM
Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals (C) is helped up by offensive linemen A.Q. Shi...
Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals (C) is helped up by offensive linemen A.Q. Shipley #53 and Justin Murray #71 of the Cardinals after being sacked by the Detroit Lions during the first half of the NFL football game at State Farm Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

Justin Murray garnered little attention along an Arizona Cardinals offensive line flush with intriguing storylines last season.

Left tackle D.J. Humphries played out his contract year healthy and productive enough to earn a lucrative new deal. Center A.Q. Shipley returned from an ACL injury to start every game. Justin Pugh and J.R. Sweezy provided one of the NFL’s best rushing offenses with consistency inside at guard.

Meanwhile, Murray quietly received 81% of the available snaps at right tackle, making his first NFL start in Week 1 despite being a waiver pickup at the end of the preseason. And all Murray did was improve from then on.

An exclusive rights free agent this March, it sounds like the Cardinals view him as a no-brainer to return in 2020.

“He certainly showed the ability to play right tackle,” general manager Steve Keim told reporters at the NFL Draft Combine on Tuesday. “Towards the end of the season, I thought he played at a fairly high level and he’s a guy that can play not only right tackle, he can play inside at guard.

“He’s a guy we’re excited to have back. He worked his tail off in the weight room and he did all the things (offensive line coach Sean Kugler) wanted to see in the film room. He is a guy we think can continue to grow and get better.”

Whether Arizona views Murray as a capable starting right tackle next year remains to be seen. But Keim’s response perhaps indicates the Cardinals would feel OK with passing on the top offensive tackles in the draft with their No. 8 overall pick.

As an exclusive rights free agent — someone with two or fewer seasons of service entering free agency — the Cardinals can tender a qualifying offer to Murray that will make him unable to negotiate with other teams. Murray can either sign the tender or sit out 2020.

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury added that the development of Murray, along with the re-signing of Humphries, takes away pressure for the team to target a tackle high in the draft.

“I think the way Justin Murray played definitely took some pressure off of that,” Kingsbury told reporters in Indianapolis. “We think he will continue to get better. We’re going to look at all of our options but he definitely took some ease off of that pressure, I think.”

Arizona Cardinals

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy throws to a receiver in the first half of an NFL footba...
Austin Scott

Here are the NFL’s Arizona connections who could make Super Bowl LVII

The Cardinals can't make a magical run to play in their home stadium for Super Bowl LVII, but some Arizona-connected players can.
1 day ago
Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn of the Dallas Cowboys looks on prior to a game against the San Fran...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals candidate Dan Quinn staying on as Dallas Cowboys DC, per report

Dan Quinn is reportedly staying with the Dallas Cowboys as the team's defensive coordinator, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
1 day ago
Interim head coach Dan Quinn of the Dallas Cowboys reacts during the second quarter of the game aga...
Austin Scott

NBC Sports’ King likes Dan Quinn as Cardinals’ next head coach

NBC Sports' Peter King joined Arizona Sports' Bickley & Marotta on Thursday and Dan Quinn is a great option to work with Kyler Murray.
1 day ago
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich stands on the sideline in the first half of an NFL footba...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals candidate Frank Reich to take head coach job with Panthers

Frank Reich is no longer on the list of potential Arizona Cardinals coaches after he reportedly agreed to join the Carolina Panthers.
1 day ago
Monti Ossenfort, new general manager of the Arizona Cardinals NFL football team, speaks during a ne...
Tyler Drake

2023 NFL Mock Draft Tracker: What will the Cardinals do with 3rd pick?

A look at the players being mocked to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 3 overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
1 day ago
Jessie Lemonier #52 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a fumble recovery against the Atlanta Falcons i...
Arizona Sports

Former Arizona Cardinals LB Jessie Lemonier dead at age 25

Former Cardinals, Chargers and Lions linebacker Jessie Lemonier has died at the age of 25, Detroit announced Thursday.
1 day ago
Kingsbury: Justin Murray reduced Cardinals’ OT needs in NFL Draft