Kyler Murray finally returned for the Arizona Cardinals and made his season debut on Sunday in a win over the Atlanta Falcons. The former No. 1 overall pick hasn’t set foot on an NFL field in nearly a year after tearing his ACL last season. While Murray has played well in his return, it is hard to ignore rumors about the Cardinals may be looking for a different direction at quarterback. So, it would seem Murray is playing to keep his place in Arizona for the rest of this year.
For someone who hasn’t played in almost a year, Murray looked good and even ran the ball well, especially on this play where he made something out of nothing to keep the Cards alive. He passed for 249 yards, completed just under 60 percent and had 33 yards on the ground. It wasn’t a perfect game by any means, but it was good enough for Arizona’s second win.
It probably sounds crazy, but there has been a lot of talk over the past 12 months about the Cardinals possibly revisiting the draft to replace Murray. This conversation was there despite the franchise giving Murray a massive five-year extension with $160 million in guaranteed money less than 18 months ago.
All the drama leading up to that extension seems to have been forgotten. The provision inserted in his transaction about doing s certain number of hours each week of “homework” (film study), then the backlash that followed once that information was leaked. Murray’s maturity level was also questioned after he deleted any mention of the team on his social media platforms.
Fans may have forgotten these things or simply moved on, but the organization probably hasn’t.
Once that happens, it will always be in the back of their mind, no matter what the results are on the field. What’s going to happen the next time something doesn’t go his way is what the front office thinks. They won’t express it publicly, but it’s there. This is similar to when one spouse is dishonest but is taken back by the other. You move past it, but it’s always there in the back of your mind. What if we go through rough times again. . . Then what?
Murray is still young (26) and presumably has many years left. But something has the Cardinals reportedly thinking about making a change. When he last played before the injury, his record was 3-8. It’s not all on him, of course, but it could be enough, along with questions about maturity, for Arizona to look elsewhere. How the offense fares going forward will play a key factor in the former Rookie of the Year’s future as a Cardinal.
Playing well and being able to win consistently are not always exclusive deals. Surrounding a young QB with talent always helps, but there is something to be said for handling this responsibility in a specific way. With eight losses already this season, the Cardinals are tied for the second-worst record in the league.
There is still plenty of time to grab that number 1 spot and jump into position USC’s Caleb Williams. Or he will want to play there is another issue. But if the opportunity is there, you have to wonder if Arizona will jump to take Williams or stand with Murray. The next seven games could make the decision for them.