Jennings: Fitzgerald saw Cards roll out red carpet for Kyler Murray

Mar 1, 2022, 4:42 PM | Updated: 4:43 pm
Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals congratulates Kyler Murray #1 after throwing a second...
Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals congratulates Kyler Murray #1 after throwing a second half touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium on October 31, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. 49ers won 28-25. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals would like to compartmentalize their contract negotiations with Kyler Murray as business.

As aggressive as Murray and his agent have been in the tactics involved, it maybe could be sold as a unique negotiation technique and nothing more. But it can’t be overlooked that mending relationships will potentially be needed, as much as general manager Steve Keim wants to keep emotions out of discussions about the quarterback’s potential contract extention.

Former players might not have much to lose for spouting opinions and insight into the complexities in this ordeal. And it appears former Cardinals great Larry Fitzgerald at least told fellow former NFL receiver Greg Jennings about concerns in how the Cardinals have handled their 24-year-old quarterback, who is up for a contract extension this offseason.

“They’ve created this problem,” Jennings told The Herd with Colin Cowherd on Tuesday. “It was good friend Larry Fitzgerald … I remember sitting down and talking to him and asking him about Kyler. (Fitzgerald) said one of the things he felt was that they rolled out the red carpet too soon. Too soon for a young guy. They gave (Murray) everything that he wanted, anything — he had free reign, and it started to show in his personality and how he carried himself.

“When you do that, when you make that decision early, you set yourself up to fail. This is what has happened in that organization right now with Kyler Murray. You’ve already given him everything he’s ever asked for. You rolled out the red carpet and you turned over the car keys, you said, ‘Here this is your car, we go as you go.’ All of a sudden, he doesn’t want to drive that car anymore.”

Jennings acknowledged that Murray, a two-time Pro Bowler, has improved each season. So has the team. Those reasons were cited in the letter Murray’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, made public on Monday, putting the ball — and the pressure — in the Cardinals’ court.

But those reasons don’t make Murray deserving of being paid among the top-five young quarterbacks in the NFL, especially without a playoff win under his belt.

While Jennings’ relaying of Fitzgerald’s comments may be opinion via a third person, another figure close to the former Cardinals receiver, who last played for Arizona in 2020, added fodder to the belief that Fitzgerald saw something off with the team and Murray.

Fitzgerald’s father, Larry Fitzgerald Sr., responded to a tweet defending Murray by calling the quarterback “spoiled,” while adding he has “never been humbled.”

In public, the early offseason saga began with the Cardinals quarterback scrubbing his social media accounts. Then on Monday came a letter sent to reporters by Burkhardt. It came just short of demanding a contract extension offer from the team.

In between those points in time were reports on Super Bowl Sunday from Chris Mortensen and NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo that insinuated all wasn’t well between the Cardinals and Murray. Murray was upset at being scapegoated, and Arizona believed the quarterback needed to improve as a leader, they said. Team owner Michael Bidwill, head coach Kliff Kingsbury and Keim have attempted to douse worrying PR flames with water in the past week.

With more opinions coming out, it’s becoming apparent that keeping things all business during this negotiation may be a little more complicated, at the least.

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Jennings: Fitzgerald saw Cards roll out red carpet for Kyler Murray