Kyler Murray facing outsized expectations after big payday

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray signed a 5-year, $230.5M contract in the offseason and with the salary cap implications for his team comes pressure to perform from Week 1.

Video Transcript

VOCH LOMBARDI: What's up, y'all? It's Voch Lombardi. Watch every second of the NFL season when and where you want it, only on DAZN.


So the one thing I hate about roster building is the idea that a player has to be perfect after they get paid. You can be perfectly fine when you're on this rookie contract. And hey, you're a good player playing for cheap. And in this salary cap era, that's how you save money. That's how you roster build. That's how you potentially try to win Super Bowls.

Look at what the Seahawks have done. Look at what the Pittsburgh Steelers have done. You get the young quarterback. You put the amazing team around him. And you try to make a run. And it's interesting that quarterbacks that get paid, except Tom Brady, take him away from this. Quarterbacks that get paid typically don't go back to Super Bowls because they kind of fracture the roster, right?

Let's take an example like Pat Mahomes. Pat Mahomes is god quarterback. He's the king of this thing. He got all of the physical traits, all of the leadership stuff, the intangible things, and perfectly clean outside of the football field, right? He even puts catch up on steak. But somewhere there's a Chiefs fan saying, oh well, we'll never win a Super Bowl because Pat Mahomes makes too much money. I think that's nonsense.

You've just got to find a way to draft and build a team around guys in another way. But you have to pay to play. You're not necessarily paying for a quarterback's services. You're paying to not have to live in a world without those guys. The Arizona Cardinals know exactly what it's like to be a bad team, three, four, five years ago. But you bring in Kyler Murray, you are all of a sudden a playoff contender.

So you have to pay for that. The problem is there's a lot of things that come with Kyler Murray. You have the diva thing. You have the idea that he's short. You have the idea that maybe he doesn't work as hard as these other quarterbacks. And you could say, but Voch, who says that Kyler Murray doesn't study, and that Kyler Murray doesn't take this seriously? Kyler Murray says that he doesn't study. And he doesn't take this stuff seriously.

In this New York Times article from Chris Coduto, Kyler Murray says, "I think I was blessed with the cognitive skills to just go out there and just see it before it happens. I'm not one of those guys that's going to sit and kill myself watching film. I don't sit there for 25 hours and break down this team, and that team, and just watch every game because in my head, I see so much." That seems like just gambling on your ability.

And to be fair, Kyler Murray, since high school and college, he was just the best quarterback around. So of course he may not work as hard as some of these other guys, right? But I think where there is smoke, there is fire. So on top of him admitting it, I think the team wants to kind of protect themselves by making Kyler Murray study. This isn't something that's new.

If there is an offensive lineman, free agent guy, and he's 350 pounds, they'd said, hey man, we'd love to have you. We'll even give you an extra $500,000 to come in at 315. You get roster incentives, right? So where there's smoke, there's fire. And I wonder, if it's a quarterback like Pat Mahomes, if it's a quarterback like Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, if it's in their contract, hey, you must study for four hours every week leading up to a game, those guys probably wouldn't feel a certain type of way because they study anyway, right?

But where there's smoke, there is fire. The team knows that Kyler Murray is not a full-blown study guy. So they make him full-blown study. And the fact that he was diva-ish enough to call his agent, go, wah wah and say, hey, take this out of the contract because it hits my ego and it makes me look bad, even after admitting that you don't study. It's a weird little situation, man. But you are burdened with this responsibility now, sir, because you are paid.

And I find this interesting that, if you take a look at the Arizona Cardinals last year, Kyler Murray got hurt, came back, all right, cool, whatever. But something interesting that happens is DeAndre Hopkins got hurt, the Arizona Cardinals's number one receiver, former Texan. And in the last four games, the Arizona Cardinals went 1-3. And if my Cowboys were a little more incompetent, they would have gone 0-4.

Now, is that Kyler Murray's fault? I don't know. But in the eyes of the fan base in which this little bitty dude that's getting paid, and he should be perfect because he's getting paid. The fan base may be ready to riot if you lose a couple of games this year. And as I look down at the opening schedule, the Arizona Cardinals have Chiefs, Raiders, Rams, Panthers, and Eagles.

Let's say the Cardinals go 1-4 in that stretch. You think the Cardinals fans are going to be happy about that after Kyler Murray's getting that god tier quarterback money? They will not be.