Things are not exactly going smoothly in the desert these days.
The Arizona Cardinals cleaned house after the 2022 season ended, firing head coach Kliff Kingsbury and watching general manager Steve Keim walk away due to health reasons. The only major holdover is quarterback Kyler Murray, whom the team signed to a five-year, $230 million deal in the offseason.
According to one anonymous Cardinals veteran, that huge extension may not have been a great idea.
“It was like they created a monster,” the player told Bally Sports.
According to the report, Murray, 25, “felt less compulsion to study his game plan or to fulfill the expectations of the franchise QB position” than he had in the past. For that reason, the Cardinals’ collapse in 2022 – in which they finished 4-13 a year after making the playoffs – felt “predictable.”
Right after Murray signed his contract, it was discovered that the Cardinals put an additional clause in the fine print that required him to complete four hours of “independent study” each game week where he studied the playbook. It was an unprecedented addition for an NFL contract, and with just about everyone involved looking bad, the team ended up removing the clause.
Perhaps removing the “independent study” requirement may have been a bad idea.
It had also been reported that Murray and Kingsbury’s relationship had started to sour throughout the trying season. The team fired the coach on the Monday after the regular season ended.
Murray suffered a torn ACL at the end of the 2022 season and may not be ready to return for 2023 – and if he does, his mobility, a huge part of his game, may be affected. The Bally report suggested that Murray may not be compelled to push himself too hard in his return from injury, which could leave the team scrambling for answers at the quarterback position.
It is certainly not the easiest sell for a team that is looking for a new head coach and general manager.