News broke on Monday that Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray was going to focus stirctly on football, ending weeks of speculation as to whether he’d commit to football or go play professional baseball for the Oakland Athletics.
The defending Heisman trophy winner declared for the NFL Draft last month but had to prior to the underclassmen deadline. The two-sport athlete was still mulling over his final decision for the last several weeks, not even dropping any hints during interviews last week at the Super Bowl.
I think this was the right decision for him both financially and athletically as I think Murray is a better football player than he is a baseball player.
Watching him dominate the college football world last season with over 4,300 yards and 42 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns en route to the second consecutive Heisman trophy by an Oklahoma quarterback and a College Football Playoff appearance, it’s easy to see why scouts are pegging him as a first-round NFL pick.
I’ve also seen him play baseball and I think he’s talented on the diamond as well. He hit for .296 with an OPS of .954 with 13 doubles, 10 home runs, 48 runs batted in and 10 stolen bases in 51 games.
Obviously Oakland thought very highly of him as he was the ninth overall pick in last year’s MLB Draft.
You’ve seen guys like Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson play both baseball and football in the same year and even during the same seasons but you’ve never seen a quarterback do it and I think there were those including myself hoping he’d try to play both but I think it’d be difficult especially with the quarterback position needing so much time and effort at arguably the most important position in all of sports.
He had to forfeit $3.16 million of his signing bonus that was due to him in a few weeks and had to return $1.3 million of the $1.5 million Oakland gave him but the money he could make in the NFL could prove to be even better once he’s drafted.
If he’s drafted in the first round which I think is expected at this point, Murray will get at least $5.3 million in his signing bonus which is the bonus for the 32nd pick.
There’s some buzz that he could go #1 overall to Arizona despite the fact they drafted Josh Rosen a year ago. If he does, he gets a projected signing bonus of $23.4 million dollars and a contract of nearly $34.9 million over four years.
With his style of play on the field, Murray should expect to get some solid endorsements deals too and with the way companies market football players, he should be able to make some good money off the field too.
Baseball’s marketing hasn’t been that solid over the last several years and I’m sure the way Murray would be branded in each sport played a factor into his decision as well.
With teams like Arizona, Oakland, the New York Giants, Jacksonville, Denver, Cincinnati, Miami and Washington all potentially looking for quarterbacks and within the top 15, they will be scouting and watching Murray closely during the combine as well as his pro day and private workouts to decide if he’s worthy of selecting or even potentially trading up to get him.
The debate between Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins will be an interesting one to watch over the next couple of months.
People will immediately go to the fact that Murray is shorter than 6 foot tall and he’s too short to play quarterback in the NFL but that narrative can’t go away fast enough due to the success of Russell Wilson and Baker Mayfield in recent years.
He’s accurate throwing the football and he’s dynamic enough as a runner that he’ll be able to extend plays with his legs. Whether or not he’ll be able to take the hits and punishment is to be determined.
I don’t think you can go wrong with either prospect, just depends on the style of quarterback you like and whether or not you think either Murray or Haskins can lead your franchise to the Super Bowl down the road.