Report: Arizona Cardinals will likely wait to activate Kyler Murray

Oct 22, 2023, 10:36 AM

Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals looks on from the sidelines against the Cincinnati Bengals at...

Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals looks on from the sidelines against the Cincinnati Bengals at State Farm Stadium on October 08, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals will likely use the full three weeks of ramp-up before activating quarterback Kyler Murray, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Murray is expected to return either Nov. 5 against the Browns or Nov. 12 against the Falcons. Arizona has until Nov. 8 to activate Murray to the 53-man roster, meaning the Cardinals’ Week 10 home game against the Falcons would be the latest the quarterback could return this season.

Wednesday marked the first time the No. 1 pick from 2019 took the practice field since going down with a torn ACL last December. Murray took first-team reps with the team at practice.

He signed a $230.5 million five-year extension in July 2022 that keeps him under contract through the 2028 season and includes $160 million guaranteed for injury. Murray’s $29.9 million salary for 2025 becomes fully guaranteed if he can’t pass a physical by March 2024 due to his surgically repaired right knee or because of another injury.

“I’m very curious (with where he’s at recovery-wise) but I know the work that he’s put in,” head coach Jonathan Gannon said Wednesday. “The people that have helped him get to this point you can’t praise enough. The whole medical staff and all the performance staff and the doctors. … I know he’s excited to get out there and start playing some football.”

The Cardinals (1-5) are expected to have a high draft pick and would like to evaluate Murray before next year’s draft that is expected to feature top-end quarterbacks Caleb Williams and Drake Maye. Even if Murray’s return goes better than expected, the Cardinals could still select a quarterback in next year’s draft and trade Murray or the pick.

Since Murray tore his ACL on Dec. 12, the Cardinals have taken a much different shape organizationally. Murray returns to the field with a new general manager, a new head coach and new offensive coordinator that were hired after Murray went down with his knee injury. Murray had not taken a rep in coordinator Drew Petzing’s offense until this week.

“It creates a unique situation because he hasn’t had any reps from that standpoint,” Petzing said Tuesday. “He’s done a great job of locking in the meeting room, asking questions, but there’s going to be a learning curve there. It’s not going to be hit the ground running the first day you’re on the field. Certainly, that’s something I’ve talked to him about, I’ve talked to the offense about.”

Not only will Murray have to adjust to the new offense, he’ll have to play against some of the best defensive lines when he returns, including matchups against the Rams, Steelers, 49ers and Eagles.

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