Trio of Cardinals back Kyler Murray’s work ethic amid study-clause chatter

Jul 26, 2022, 5:42 PM | Updated: 5:51 pm
Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals warms-up ahead of head coach Kliff Kingsbury d...
Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals warms-up ahead of head coach Kliff Kingsbury during the Red & White Practice at State Farm Stadium on August 28, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

LITCHFIELD PARK — Just when we thought all the contract drama was over.

Not long after quarterback Kyler Murray signed his name on the dotted line of his new contract extension, a specific clause was unearthed that turned quite a few heads to say the least.

As part of the QB’s massive $230.5 million extension, he must study for four hours per game week outside of normal team responsibilities. If he doesn’t, the contract would be considered in default.

It’s something not normally seen in NFL contracts, raising concerns over Murray’s readiness ahead of games and the level of trust between player and franchise.

Those that share the football field with Murray, however, aren’t among those in the concerned department.

“When I watch what he’s done since he got here the first year and his development in all areas, all he’s done is gotten dramatically better each and every year,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday. “And that’s what I judge it by. There’s a handful of quarterbacks that you can win a Super Bowl with in this league and we feel like he’s one of them. I wouldn’t want to work with anybody else.

“These guys are professionals, they know how to get themselves ready for a game,” Kingsbury added. “They know what to watch, what they need to watch personally, so I’ve never tracked (studying time).”

Murray’s teammates on both sides of the football in tight end Zach Ertz and safety Budda Baker were right in lockstep with their head coach.

Baker doubled down on backing Murray’s work ethic while noting that not everyone studies the same way as the next guy, whether it’s working on their own at home or with fellow teammates at the facility.

And after joining the team mid-season via trade, Ertz saw Murray’s knowledge of the playbook firsthand, adding that the signal caller was the one to get him up to speed when he was dealt from Philadelphia.

“Any time I brought up questions about how their defense was playing, certain techniques, he knew exactly what I was talking about,” Ertz said.

“From my standpoint, I’m not in there watching film with him … but any time I wanted to talk about certain techniques that they were doing or what I saw based on my study, he was on the same page with me the majority of the time. I never got that impression (that he didn’t study enough).”

With the word “unprecedented” being attached to Murray’s study clause more times than not over this past news cycle, the feel-good vibes the team was feeling heading into camp has taken a hit.

While Murray’s new contract should have closed the door on the extension saga, it has in fact done the opposite and added a new wrinkle.

But much like the offseason back-and-forth that took center stage this NFL offseason between Murray’s camp and the franchise, this too shall pass, says Kingsbury.

“My man’s got a quarter billion dollars. You can only be upset for so long I guess,” the head coach said. “Negotiations are negotiations, everybody has their things and wants different stuff. I’m just glad this young man got what I think he deserves.”

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