Today, the Arizona Cardinals announced that QB Kyler Murray is going to start in their Week 10 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. He has been out for the entire season so far due to an ACL injury he suffered near the end of the 2022 season. However, this decision leaves a lot of things up in the air.
What are the Arizona Cardinals thinking at quarterback? Do they want Kyler Murray? Do they still want to draft a new quarterback? Or, do they want to go in another direction entirely? Let’s talk about it.
Murray will make his first appearance of the 2023 season on Sunday. Right now, he is in the early portion of a 5-year, $230 million contract. The Cardinals did originally have a good reason for giving him all that money over all of those years.
That was because, before he got hurt last year, he was performing admirably on his rookie contract. In his first four years, he averaged 16 touchdown passes, 10.25 interceptions, and 3,462 passing yards per season. Keep in mind that he missed six games in the 2022 season too.
Murray has certainly shown that he has the athletic talent to succeed in the NFL. Now, it is coming down to his mentality and if this new coaching staff will be a better fit for Murray’s skillset. If he can get back to performing like his old self, it may not be a bad idea to stick it out with him.
Truthfully, the Cardinals may have no choice. Murray’s base salary goes up significantly next year, with a lot of that money guaranteed. The easiest out from his contract does not come until after the 2027 season. If they want to trade Murray before then, they will likely have to show a team that he is healthy enough to make an impact. That probably means having him on display for at least one full season next year.
Other Quarterback Moves This Season
The Arizona Cardinals have certainly had some questionable moves this season at the quarterback position. Right before the regular season started, they cut veteran QB Colt McCoy while Murray was still recovering from his ACL injury. That led many to believe that the Cardinals were tanking for a top draft pick next year.
They brought in Joshua Dobbs from the Cleveland Browns. He started the first eight games for Arizona this season. Despite having a 1-7 record in those games, Dobbs performed admirably for the Cardinals.
However, in a stunning turn of events, Arizona traded him to the Minnesota Vikings right before the NFL trade deadline. It resulted in rookie QB Clayton Tune making his first professional start last week against the Cleveland Browns. Considering the Cardinals lost that game 27-0, Tune’s performance left something to be desired.
Because of this, tanking rumors floated back around during these last two weeks. This is especially the case considering the Cardinals currently hold the top spot in the 2024 NFL Draft. However, with Murray getting the nod this week, he has a chance to put that speculation to rest once again.
Arizona Cardinals 2024 NFL Draft
Regardless of how Murray performs on Sunday, the Cardinals are likely going to have a high draft pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. If Murray plays well, they may fall out of the top spot but gain some stability at the quarterback position. That can leave them in a good spot to potentially trade a high draft pick and get a nice haul.
However, there is the concern that Murray looks like a shell of his former self. Even worse, he could get hurt again before the season is over. If one of those things happen and the Cardinals are still sitting with one of the highest draft picks next season, expect this quarterback discussion to come back around.