So, What's The Move Kyler?
Kyler Murray will eventually be a Dallas Cowboy. Yes, I understand, he said he’s choosing baseball and reporting to the A’s for spring training in February. Understand he signed a contract to play in Oakland and is slated to make nearly $5 million guaranteed. And also comprehend that his agent, the legendary Scott Boras, has doubled down on the stance that Kyler will play his last downs of football this season and pursue a professional baseball career. With that being said, the NFL offers a few things much sweeter than what’s been previously been stated -- A faster path to a larger guaranteed check, the opportunity to start at quarterback for the No. 1 sports franchise in the world, the allure of a hometown hero going to work 10 minutes from where he created his legend and continuing to build his legacy in the same stadium where he turned his fellow Texans into believers. Then there’s the simple the fact that his name has been submitted to the College Advisory Council, where NFL Draft grades are assessed.
As far as sports leagues go, the NFL stinks. Careers are short, the money isn’t great compared to the other Big Four sports, the contracts aren’t guaranteed, the owners/fans want to keep the players from having a voice and chastise them for wanting to take part in social issues even though athletes are also people who are affected by things that go on in this country (an issue similar to what baseball faces due to its “Get off my lawn” mentality), and the risk of injury is far greater -- CTE ain’t nothing to play with. If you factor those things in, conventional wisdom would tell you to stay the hell away from the pigskin and pick up the Kangaroo skin glove.
Not so fast. It is no secret that starting quarterbacks typically make way more money than anyone else on the football field. Shit, it seems like every year quarterbacks are trading places, as another one takes the crowns as the leagues highest-paid player. According to Forbes.com, seven of the 10 biggest cash cows in the NFL are signal-callers, with GOAT field general Aaron Rodgers, sitting at No. 1 after signing a contract extension in 2018 that has him set to make $33.5 milly annually. With that being said, four of those quarterbacks have never won a Super Bowl. And the No. 3 guy, who I personally like, Jimmy Garoppolo, has never won a playoff game or even lasted more than five games in a season as the starter. Follow the money…..
Most dual-sport athletes pick a viable path to the pros at some point in their collegiate careers. No longer are the days when athletes have the option to compete in two different professional sports ala Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson, who starred on both the gridiron and basepaths. Franchises aren’t putting up with that, especially after watching a football-related injury curtail Jackson’s baseball career. However, we’ve seen recent examples of guys who starred in two sports during their collegiate days, choose one sport and ultimately make a career in that. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay’s quarterback and a former pitcher and outfielder at Florida State, wound up choosing professional football, a sport that like Kyler Murray led him to the Heisman Trophy, and also afforded him the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft and a chance to make $100 milly -- even though he might not see that now due to his inconsistency and off-the-field troubles. Jeff Samardzija, who pitched at Notre Dame and was twice a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given to the nation’s top wide receiver, spurned the NFL -- he knew he wasn’t going to make the same money and would’ve possibly fizzled out as a slower pass catcher -- and went on to earn a $90 million contract with the San Francisco Giants of the Major Leagues.
The picture isn’t as clear for Murray as Winston and Samardzija. By being selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Allen, Texas resident can become the first athlete in sports history to be selected in both football and baseball within 12 months. In the 1980s, Jackson and John Elway were No. 1 overall picks in football and selected in the second round of the MLB draft, but not in the same year. Murray has the rare star potential in both sports, but the question is simple yet complex, which route is the most lucrative?
If he makes it to a second contract in baseball, this argument is null and void. The only problem is very few baseball players make it to their second contracts, and the price you have to pay along the way is much more difficult than that of the one on the gridiron. The $4.6 million signing bonus he signed with the A’s will be his most significant for the next five to seven seasons. He’ll likely spend two to three seasons in the minors (which isn’t a very luxurious option given the lack of quality travel, middle-of-nowhere cities in which you live in and overall accommodations) And then he would be another three seasons away from arbitration. So his first big payday for baseball would likely not come until 2023 or 2024. His first chance at free agency would likely come after the 2026 or 2027 seasons. This means, Murray will be 29 or 30 by the time he’s likely to get a significant free-agent contract, and he’ll have to be a standout to be paid handsomely. This doesn’t sound like the simplest route.
The easiest trail leads Murray to Jerry World, a magical place that recently acquired Cowboys wideout Amari Cooper boasted about after his epic performance against the Eagles in December. "When I thought of playing in the NFL as a youth, this is the perfect example of that," Cooper said. "Everything from the city, the facilities, winning… it's a dream come true.” For a kid like Murray, who grew up just down the road from the facilities and spent his high school days torching any team in his path in front of packed houses by AT&T Stadium, it's hard to imagine he didn’t or doesn’t have similar visions. I mean who wouldn’t want to play in front of friends and family every Sunday, be the face of America’s team and by extension almost every marketing opportunity in the NFL (just ask Dak Prescott ) whilst making upwards of $100 million by his mid-20s?
As beautiful as it sounds, the road to Dallas may sound even more lovely, as there are certain loopholes that could lead him to the D without any speed bumps. According to the CBA, if a team drafts Murray and doesn’t sign him to a contract, he will move to the Reserve/Draft; Unsigned List and count against the 90-man roster. The club will own his rights for a year until the following draft, at which point Murray would re-enter the draft pool. This is a similar scenario to former Cowboys quarterback Drew Henson, who played quarterback at Michigan while pursuing a baseball career, eventually foregoing his senior football season when the Yankees signed him to a six-year, $17 million contract in 2001. He then toiled as a third baseman in the Yankees farm system for three seasons and was selected by the Texans in the sixth round of the 2003 draft. Since the Cowboys don’t have a first-round pick in 2018, and might be on the cusp of offering Dak Prescott, a $100 million contract, something that would be a gross overpayment given his bouts with accuracy, lack of arm strength and inconsistent yet sometimes dynamic play, it would be wise for ole’ Jerry to practice patience. Given the fact that Dak won’t be a free agent until after the 2019 season, Dallas doesn’t have to worry about paying him directly after 2018. In fact, Jerry can focus his thoughts on what Murray’s next move might be. If a team winds up saying forget it by grabbing the Oklahoma product in 2019, and the field general doesn’t sign, the Cowboys could then use their first-round pick in 2020 on the stalwart signal-caller. Though Dallas likely won’t draft in the top ten, the 2020 quarterback class is deep and teams may be willing to take a chance on Tua Tagovailoa, Jake Fromm, Justin Hebert or Duke’s Daniel Jones before rolling the dice on someone who’s been removed from the sport for more than a year. This is the best-case scenario and could ultimately lead to Prescott walking and Murray authoring a Pro Bowl-filled career in the heartland of American Football.
PS: Though some believe his slight stature (5-foot-10, 195 pounds) will affect his draft stock, many pundits, including Todd McShay and Mel Kiper have debunked that theory, calling him Russell Wilson-type talent. Case in point: the dazzing display he put forth as of recent when he totaled over 400 yards against the nation’s best defense, Alabama. Honestly, if you watch his game, one can tell that he’s not going to take the same shots the average quarterback takes. Not only is he crafty/speedy enough to avoid pass rushes and looming defenders, his baseball background has taught him how to properly slide and in different variations. Though a dual-threat quarterback, he won’t take nearly the pounding of say an RGIII. Betting against Murray wouldn’t be wise.