Anquan Boldin: ‘You would be a fool’ to let Cardinals QB Kyler Murray leave
One question has been at forefront of the Arizona Cardinals’ offseason: Does Kyler Murray deserve to be paid?
For former Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin, the idea of extending Murray is a no-brainer.
“Kyler Murray is a once in a lifetime, generational talent,” Boldin said on Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke Tuesday morning. “For the Cardinals, they only have to look as far as the draft class before him (when Arizona drafted quarterback Josh Rosen) to see how tough it is to get a quarterback you can have on a roster for 10-plus years.
“Anytime you have a quarterback who is a franchise quarterback on your roster, I think you would be a fool to let him get away.”
The 2022 offseason is the first time Murray is eligible for a contract extension, and his agent Erik Burkhardt, via a letter released to the public, has made it clear that the quarterback is ready to be paid.
Recently, young franchise quarterbacks who have received extensions have not only had the contracts finalized toward the beginning of the season. They have gotten those deals after having some postseason success. The Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen agreed to his extension in August following the 2020 AFC Championship game, Jared Goff earned his after leading the Los Angeles Rams to Super Bowl LIII and Patrick Mahomes received a 10-year, $450 million extension with the Kansas City Chiefs after winning Super Bowl LIV.
Murray has yet to win a playoff game, but in the eyes of the former 14-year veteran Boldin, his push for a deal now is about the harsh reality of managing the business with an importance of longevity in mind.
“Any time you have contract negotiations, it’s tricky,” Boldin said. “Every player wants security as soon as possible because we all know tomorrow isn’t promised to you in the NFL … they want to be somewhere where they are wanted. They want to be somewhere where they know they will be compensated and where they are going to be somewhere long-term.”
It is no different for Murray.
“Kyler Murray is in that situation where he wants to know that he’s going to be in Arizona for the long term and he wants to be compensated well along with that,” Boldin said.
Since Arizona’s Wild Card loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the rumors and debates about Murray’s quiet style of leadership have been emphasized while the 24-year-old quarterback has progressed as a player his first three seasons. As someone who spent his first seven pro seasons with the Cardinals, a younger Boldin once agreed with those that believed a quarterback had to be the team’s leader.
“I always thought for a team to win, a quarterback had to be like Kurt [Warner],” Boldin said. “Kurt was a leader in every way … He led by example. Kurt was a first guy in, last guy out kind of player. I always felt like in order for me or for a team to win, the quarterback had to be that type of guy.”
That all changed with Joe Flacco as his signal caller with the Ravens.
“When I got to Baltimore, we had other leaders in the locker room where we didn’t need our quarterback to be Kurt Warner,” Boldin said. “Joe was the complete opposite of Kurt. He wasn’t going to motivate anybody and it’s not a knock on Joe. He was great in what we needed him to be. He was exactly what we needed him to be in Baltimore.”
Winning Super Bowl XLVII can attest to Boldin’s reasoning as to why his mind changed. Leadership primarily came from the defense with Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed guiding the Ravens to securing the franchise’s second Lombardi Trophy.
Building leadership outside of Murray was the focus of general manager Steve Keim in the 2021 offseason. J.J. Watt, A.J. Green and Rodney Hudson were signed with that in mind. But the results of the season was similar to the year prior: A strong start with a lackluster finish.
Wanting to see more out of Murray in terms of leadership and results, like a playoff win, is understandable to Boldin, but there are consequences for the team in waiting to extend the quarterback.
“You’re telling the player, ‘I don’t believe in your right now,'” Boldin said. “You have a team who is running that risk of having a player on the team who is unhappy and doesn’t truly want to be there because you don’t truly believe in him.”
Risks have been the theme of this offseason for everyone involved: scrubbing of Instagram posts, a demand from an agent in absurdly all-caps font and contract extensions for Kliff Kingsbury and Steve Keim for six more seasons.
However, the biggest risk is still in the air with Murray and whether or not to extend him this offseason.