Cardinals Remove Clause From Kyler Murray's New Contract Amid Backlash

By Jason Hall

July 29, 2022

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams
Photo: Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals removed the mandatory "independent study" clause from quarterback Kyler Murray's new contract on Thursday (July 29) amid public criticism.

"After seeing the distraction it created, we removed the addendum from the contract," the Cardinals said in a team statement obtained by NFL Network's Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport. "It was clearly perceived in ways that were never intended. Our confidence in Kyler Murray is as high as it's ever been and nothing demonstrates our belief in his ability to lead this team more than the commitment reflected in this contract."

Murray and the Cardinals reached an agreement on a five-year, $230.5 million extension last week, which was officially signed on Monday (July 25) and included a stipulation requiring the quarterback to "complete at least four (4) hours of independent study."

The Cardinals would provide Murray with study material in order to prepare for each upcoming scheduled game and the quarterback wouldn't receive credit for the independent study if he was "not personally studying or watching the material while it is being displayed or played" or if he was involved in distracting activities such as watching television, playing video games or using the internet, in adherence with the stipulation, reports.

Reports of the contract stipulation led to questions about Murray's focus on football, as well as scrutiny for investing so much money in a player that would need to have the clause included.

Murray participated in an impromptu news conference on Thursday and expressed his dismay about being perceived as anything less than a "student of the game" but declined to answer whether the cause being included in the contract upset him.

Rapoport reported that Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill thought the addendum was a necessary addition to the contract and that the franchise "wanted some assurances that [Murray is] going to continue to work, continue to perform at the level that is necessary, and the kind of level that deserves that contract."

The Cardinals claimed the addendum was misconstrued publicly and that they didn't intend to cause controversy with its inclusion.

Murray's future with the Cardinals has been a major topic throughout the NFL offseason.

In February, his agent, Eric Burkhardt, released a lengthy statement amid reports of his client's unrest with the organization.

In the statement addressed to Cardinals fans, Burkhardt confirmed Murray "absolutely wants to be your long term QB" and "desperately wants to win the Super Bowl," but claimed "it is now simply up to the Cardinals to decide if they prioritize" signing him to a contract extension.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport shared the statement from Burkhardt on his verified on February 25, which confirmed that he and his client "sent a detailed contract proposal to the organization."

"Looking ahead, Kyler believes that in order to consistently compete for championships, and ultimately deliver the valley their first super Bowl in 33+ years, there needs to be long term stability for both the organization and himself to overtly communicate Kyler's desire to be the Cardinals long term QB," Burkhardt wrote.

The uncertainty began after the former Heisman Trophy winner cryptically deleted all photos and references to the organization from his verified Instagram account, leading to reports of his displeasure with the team.

Murray is entering his fourth NFL season since being selected by Arizona at No. 1 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft and is coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl selections, as well as having won the 2019 FNL Offensive Rookie of the Year award during his first season.

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