One of the more interesting whispers of the 2019 NFL Draft is what is going on between Oklahoma quarterback prospect Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals. Murray wouldn’t mind it, new Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury at one point wanted it, so what’s going on?
Most of this started with highlights of a quote by Kingsbury where he said he’d take the quarterback with the first pick. A quote made when he was preparing to face the quarterback in a college game. Remember, the week of a game is when people say funny things. Former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians thought the 49ers under Chip Kelly were sleepers in the NFC West for instance (the 49ers went 2-14 that year). The particular quote by Kingsbury was said in the same fashion and before Arizona hired him. Once the steam picked up, the Cardinals started going out of their way to put over second-year quarterback Josh Rosen as their guy. First, they tweeted it out. Simple enough.
No, not really. After this statement, the media caught up to Murray to plug away on if he even wants to go to Arizona if given the chance. Murray responded with this (via Dallas News)
“I think, me and him are really tight. Great relationship with him,” Murray said, remembering Kingsbury’s endorsement. “I think that was just something, he’s always felt strongly about me as a player and as a kid off the field.”...
...“At the end of the day, they’re going to do what’s best for them,” Murray said. “I can’t go into it with any expectations of being taken by the Cardinals. That would be nice for sure.”
Should be shut and sealed. Murray wouldn’t mind going to the Cardinals, but he knows it’s not happening.
A few things to note. First, Murray signed with Erik Burkhardt as his agent. Why is that important? Burkhardt also represents Kingsbury. Something like this may not mean anything, but it is an odd coincidence. Second, the Cardinals seem to be going out of their way to say Rosen is their guy.
All of this could be interesting if not for one problem: the Cardinals are being asked about it and responding appropriately. What are they supposed to say? “No comment,” to a quote Kingsbury made a week before he faced Murray in the NCAA?
If the Cardinals were to draft Murray, one thing needs to happen: they have to find a way to offload Rosen. His inconsistent rookie season is far from his fault. He threw 14 interceptions to 11 touchdowns, took a whopping 45 sacks and completed 55 percent of his passes. Those aren’t impressive numbers and would put a veteran quarterback on the chopping block. Rosen was a rookie. A rookie behind a porous offensive line with no one not named Larry Fitzgerald to throw to. That same offensive line that helped running back David Johnson to an average of 58 yards a game.
They aren’t just releasing Rosen. Not after what they gave up (a third and a fifth) to trade up and get him. So where does Rosen go? Some suggestions say the New York Giants would be a good destination. The Giants could have taken Rosen in the 2018 draft, but ended up with Saquon Barkley who was one of their few shining stars that season. The Cardinals film may be misleading with how Rosen looks at the NFL level with all the issues mentioned above, but it offers New York a long look at his rookie season and an opportunity to get him cheaper than the Cardinals did.
And that’s the big moving piece here, what do the Cardinals do with Rosen? Drafting a quarterback, in the top 10, two years in a row is something akin to the Cleveland Browns, and the Cardinals aren’t that inept. One season of second round pick DeShone Kizer with the Browns and they still managed to trade him to the Packers for something. It could happen if they can make up for the investment on Rosen.
But that’s a big ‘if.’ Murray wouldn’t mind going to the Cardinals, but the Cardinals have shut the door on it, and it appears Murray has as well. And if it were to open back up, there’s a pesky deadbolt that needs removed before that can happen.