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How Kyler Murray's Post-Extension Performance Compares to Previous QB's

What have other quarterbacks looked like in the first four games after signing a big extension and how does that compare to Kyler Murray?
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In recent years, the NFL has seen a trend of paying out big-money deals to quarterbacks after their third season, and Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray became the most recent recipient of one over the summer.  

In 2019, Jared Goff kicked off the pattern when he signed a 4-year, $134 million deal after his third season with the Los Angeles Rams ended with a run to the Super Bowl. 

The following year, 2020, Patrick Mahomes destroyed the record books by signing a 10-year extension worth up to $503 million after leading the Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl victory since 1970. 

2021 rolled along and another quarterback finishing his third season, Josh Allen, signed a six-year extension with the Bills worth $258 million. Allen didn't lead his team to the Super Bowl in the same manner as Goff and Mahomes, but an AFC Championship appearance did catapult Buffalo back into the upper echelons of the conference. 

As for Murray, his deal was for 5 years, $230.5 million, and came after an offseason with its share of contract drama. 

A noticeable difference in Murray's deal compared to his peers was the lack of playoff success preceding the deal. The other three led their teams to, at minimum, a conference championship game, while Mahomes paced the whole group by winning the Super Bowl before his record-setting extension. 

Murray and the Cardinals exited the 2022 Wild Card round sputtering after an embarrassing loss to the Rams. 

This key difference left many Cardinals, and NFL fans in general, wondering about the wisdom of such a move. 

Still, how did these three quarterbacks that came before Murray fare in their fourth season? Particularly, in the first four weeks of their fourth season? Let's compare them with Murray and see if there is anything to be garnered from that comparison. 

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) returns to the sideline following a turnover on downs against the Seattle Seahawks during the third quarter at Lumen Field.

Jared Goff - First Four Weeks of 2019

Team Record: 3-1

  • Passing Yards: 1,254
  • Rushing Yards: 12
  • Passing Touchdowns: 6
  • Rushing Touchdowns: 1
  • Completion Percentage: 64.04%
  • Interceptions: 6
  • Passer Rating: 85.4

The Rams started the first four games of 2019 with a very confusing Jared Goff. An awful performance in Week 1 was followed by decent outings in Weeks 2-3 and a crazy game in Week 4 when he threw 517 yards and 3 interceptions in a loss to the Buccaneers. 

Patrick Mahomes Cardinals

Patrick Mahomes - First Four Weeks of 2020

Team Record: 4-0

  • Passing Yards: 1,134
  • Rushing Yards: 108
  • Passing Touchdowns: 11
  • Rushing Touchdowns: 1
  • Completion Percentage: 67.94%
  • Interceptions: 0
  • Passer Rating: 115.3

Patrick Mahomes is undeniably a freak of nature. The first season on his new deal started fast out of the gate with a 4-0 start. He threw four touchdowns and zero interceptions in Week 3 and continued to show the NFL world how good he really is. 

Beyond the first four weeks, Mahomes kept up this incredible pace and finished with a 14-1 record as starter. Almost 5,000 yards and a 38/6 TD to Interception ratio helped get the Chiefs to their second Super Bowl appearance in as many years. 

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A dejected Josh Allen and the Bills fell to the Texans 22-19 in overtime to end their season.

Josh Allen - First Four Weeks of 2021

Team Record: 3-1

  • Passing Yards: 1,055
  • Rushing Yards: 129
  • Passing Touchdowns: 9
  • Rushing Touchdowns: 1
  • Completion Percentage: 62.85%
  • Interceptions: 2
  • Passer Rating: 96.27

While not as unbelievable as Mahomes, Allen did start the 2021 campaign on a good note, but the first four games were not perfect. The Bills dropped the opening week matchup with the Steelers partially due to an Allen fumble. In Week 2 they blew out the Dolphins, though it was not on the back of a great performance. Going only 17/33 passing, Allen passed for under 200 yards and the Bills running game was the true star of the show. 

Kyler

Kyler Murray - First Four Weeks of 2022

Team Record: 2-2

  • Passing Yards: 991
  • Rushing Yards: 91
  • Passing Touchdowns: 5
  • Rushing Touchdowns: 2
  • Completion Percentage: 65.32%
  • Interceptions: 2
  • Passer Rating: 85.2

Unfortunately, through the first four weeks of 2022, Murray's performance is most analogous to Goff who also accounted for seven touchdowns and a passer rating in the 80s. Murray's completion percentage is the second best of the group, however, and points to one of his strong suits.

The Cardinals' team record is the weakest of the bunch as well, but how much of that can be placed on the shoulders of Murray is debatable. The Bills and Rams defenses have been historically good over the past several seasons and the true defensive breakdown of the Cardinals in the Week 1 game vs the Chiefs put the team in an unwinnable position. 

Murray showed elite talent and grit in a Week 2 comeback in Las Vegas where he became the first player in NFL history to pass and rush for a touchdown as well as pass and rush for a 2-point conversion in the same game. 

In fact, Murray has engineered two comeback wins through the first four weeks of 2022. The aforementioned game in Vegas, and most recently, in Charlotte. Down 10-3 in the second quarter, Murray and the Cardinals came back in the second half to win 26-16. 

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