We’ve been riding this Kyle Murray to the Arizona Cardinals narrative since the NFL Combine when Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury called it a ‘done deal.’ Now if we really want to look at this objectively and consider history, it’s not a done deal until Murray’s name is called. The Cardinals haven’t even had a private meeting with Murray yet.
So what happens if they don’t take Murray? Well that (probably) leaves a pass rusher off the board and Murray available at two. In his recent mailbag with The Athletic, Jay Glazer says that No. 2 pick would be a frenzy to trade away:
The Cardinals went out Tuesday to go meet with Murray privately. Going into last week, when everyone already thought they were in on him, they still hadn’t seen him throw in person yet. They hadn’t fully sat and met with him. To be honest with you, I think it’s on Murray to not tank this. He is extremely dynamic. He could change a franchise. If he doesn’t completely botch and tank his personal visit with the team, then yes, I absolutely see them doing this.
Now, if they don’t do it, and he’s still there at No. 2, I see an absolute feeding frenzy from teams looking to trade all the way up for Murray. I just don’t see him dropping past that. But man, if the Cards don’t take him, that No. 2 slot that the 49ers own would probably be the most sought-after slot in a long time. If I’m the 49ers, I start calling my friends over at the Cardinals and start doing whatever I can to get them not to take Murray. Kyle Shanahan should call Kliff Kingsbury at 9 a.m. every day with some kind of made-up crap that gets them to jump ship (I’m kidding … kind of).
If the Cardinals were to draft Quinnen Williams or Nick Bosa, that may leave the 49ers with a choice of taking who was not drafted, or getting out of No. 2 altogether. They were reported to be torn between the two and not seeing Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen as a No. 2 prospect.
Glazer thinks that Murray can’t fall further than No. 2, that’s pretty certain. Don’t rule out the possibility of him going one more spot and being drafted at No. 3. Trading up to No. 3 with the New York Jets would be much cheaper than trading up to No. 2 where you force not only to move the 49ers back, but take them out of the hunt of their top-pick. That said, if Murray is as impressive as everyone has been reporting, you go get your guy, and that may make the second overall the guarantee to a quarterback of the future.
It’s obvious the 49ers are not going to draft a quarterback, and the Jets aren’t going to either. They are both set at the position. So unless the 49ers took Murray to spite everyone, teams could easily put together a package to the Jets that would be a smidgen less-expensive, and this is assuming the combination of Williams and Bosa is off the board. Of course, if there is significant interest for Murray, teams could alternatively decide to speak with the Jets, and then someone could just knock them out and hop in at 2. One of the reasons the Chicago Bears moved up one spot for a quarterback (Mitchell Trubisky) in the 2017 draft was to block anyone else from potentially hopping in and taking him from under their noses. That’s where the No. 2 pick this year beats No. 3.
I do think the No. 2 pick will carry incredible value if the Cardinals pass on Murray, but I also think it’s not out of the realm of possibility that one or multiple teams negotiate with the Jets and the 49ers are avoided due to the compensation required. The 49ers could be seen as a last resort by a desperate, quarterback needy team. For instance, if the Raiders wanted Murray in this situation and lost a trade to the Jets, they have the ammo and positioning to say “bullstuff” and hop in front.
Remember: in this situation, not only is a team trading to the No. 2 spot—which is expensive by itself, but they are also forcing the 49ers to pass on a very high, once in a generation prospect in Quinnen Williams and/or Nick Bosa. That’s two things they are forcing them to do, that is going to be crazy expensive.
Honestly, if I’m the Jets right now I’m loving this. No. 3 seems like it could carry some weight for a nice trade or, I’d be in line for NIck Bosa/Quinnen Williams when I may not have been otherwise while the 49ers go into a bidding war. But I wouldn’t at all be surprised with the looks/praise Murray is getting if the Jets are ignored and the 49ers are given a Tonka truck filled with picks.