Kyler Murray’s practice window officially opened, as the Arizona Cardinals’ first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft stepped on the field with his teammates for the first time since he tore his ACL on Dec. 12.
The Cardinals have 21 days before Murray needs to be activated to the 53-man roster and head coach Jonathan Gannon was happy to see him back out there.
“Obviously, he’s our franchise quarterback, so I was happy about it,” Gannon said, via ESPN.
While Murray is looking to lead the Cardinals once more, there were rumors swirling this offseason that Arizona should try to trade him to get his large contract off the books. Murray will have a cap hit of $51.8 million next season followed by three more years before a potential opt-out in 2028.
However, former Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin believes the organization that took him in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft should try to hang on and make things work with Murray before starting over again.
“I think you have to, man,” Boldin told Fox News Digital. “I think what he brings to the table, you’d be foolish to move on from him.”
There have been some questions about Murray’s discipline off the field, as some think he is immature and not working hard enough in the classroom.
While Boldin acknowledged that, he believes other teams would jump at the chance to work with a player as versatile as Murray at the position.
“We heard about the issues in the past. Some people saying he’s immature, he doesn’t study enough,” Boldin began. “But there’s not a lot of dynamic quarterbacks like him in the league. So when you have the opportunity to have a guy like that on your team, I don’t think you’re quick to move on from him. I think there’s a lot of teams who would have a guy like Kyler than not.”
Murray has shown he can get things done on the field with his arm and legs, especially in the 2020 season when he rushed for 819 yards and 11 touchdowns while throwing for 3,971 yards and 26 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, earning him his first Pro Bowl nod.
The Cardinals went 8-8 that season, and Murray followed that up by going 9-5 in his 14 games in 2021 with another Pro Bowl selection after throwing for 3,787 yards and 24 touchdowns.
But the Cardinals need to see if Murray’s legs are still the same after his brutal knee injury that took place against the New England Patriots last season. If Murray can’t extend plays and pick up first downs with his legs like he has so many times in the past, being a strict pocket passer may not bode well for Arizona.
They also need to consider where their draft stock is going to be next season. At 1-5 on the year, the Cardinals would own the No. 4 pick in the 2024 Draft if the season ended today. They’ve been competitive with Josh Dobbs at quarterback, but the results haven’t shown on the scoreboard at the end of games.
What if the Cardinals have a top five pick in a quarterback heavy draft pool that’s expected to be present in April? Do the Cardinals, with new GM Monti Ossenfort who didn’t draft Murray first overall, want their own guy under center?
These are the questions that will be answered soon, but it starts with seeing what Murray can do if and when he returns to the field on game day.
Boldin thinks the team needs to at least give Murray their all before possibly making a move in a different direction.