Save for several community events in recent weeks, there has been a virtual silence regarding efforts by Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray to secure a lucrative contract extension.
It has been 37 days since Murray’s agent Erik Burkhardt went public with his all-CAPS posturing that the quarterback be paid now rather than in the summer, which owner Michael Bidwill alluded to in a radio interview only three days before Burkhardt’s hissy fit.
The agent subsequently did tweet a not-so-subtle jab at the Cardinals in which it was clear he was questioning the team’s commitment to winning.
Of course, while this was happening, Burkhardt negotiated a contract extension for head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
At the recent NFL meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., Kingsbury again insisted everything is just fine with Murray.
“We are in a great spot with him,” Kingsbury told reporters. “I know that (letter) was what it was. Nothing has changed from our end. We’re excited about his future and we want to make him an Arizona Cardinal for as long as we can.”
As for Murray’s current mindset, Kingsbury said, “I think all of us want to feel wanted. You put so much time and effort and work into this game, so that’s a big part of it. He knows how we feel about it. I’m excited to see what we can do with him moving forward.”
When Murray was asked about his quest for a new contract at one of his Valley appearances, he said, “I keep football football. I let people whoever have to take care of that stuff take care of that stuff. All I worry about is playing good on the field.”
As if he had no knowledge about Burkhardt’s strategy.
Meanwhile, the team’s offseason workout program begins April 19, and there surely are questions whether Murray will attend.
Ever since Murray opened the door for criticism after he scrubbed Cardinals images from his Instagram account after playing in the Pro Bowl, persistent comments about his leadership qualities stole the headlines.
One surefire way to quiet that narrative would be to be all-in on the two months of offseason work that are fast approaching.
During a recent Zoom media availability with reporters, backup quarterback Colt McCoy was asked about Murray’s leadership.
He said, “He’s just finished his third year in the NFL, I would say that his arrow is pointing up. Rookie of the Year, he’s made two Pro Bowls, the guy’s extremely, extremely talented. I’m grateful to be able to work with him. I know how hard it was for me my first three years in the NFL, to handle all the things that come with being a franchise quarterback and being in the NFL. And I think Kyler’s handled it tremendously. And I think he’s just going to continue to get better and I’m thankful I get to be in the same room with him.
“He’s a super competitor, He wants to win. He works hard. And I think it kind of sets the tone for our whole team. And the good thing about here is we have a great mix of veteran guys and younger guys that (general manager Steve Keim) has put together and I think there’s a lot of respect through the whole locker room about who we have on this team. I don’t think the goals are confused at all. The goal is to go out there and win and we know that, so I think we’re all good.”
While he’s no longer with the Cardinals, wide receiver Christian Kirk boldly claimed any rips of Murray’s leadership are “nonsense.”
After signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kirk recently appeared on The Rich Eisen Show and said, "I would say it’s nonsense. People can speculate and read into it however they want. But I look at it as passion. The kid’s just passionate and people show their passion in different ways. He just wants to win, so obviously when things go wrong, it’s a little disappointing. But it’s good, for me, in my eyes, to see somebody who cares enough to show passion and wants to turn things around and win the football game. That’s how I see it.”
Asked how Murray leads, Kirk said, "He's everything you want in a quarterback. I would think No. 1, he an ultimate competitor. You can just see it in his approach and in his demeanor every time we take the field on Sunday, that's he's there to win. He wants to be able to compete at the highest level and be able to take his game and his team to that point. He has a relationship with all the guys on the offensive front and he never backs down from competition. I think that is the most important part when you talk about having a franchise quarterback."
Earlier in the offseason, he told TMZ, "He's a great friend of mine and he's always treated me well and teammates around him well. Every time he steps on the field, he wants to win.
"I believe he deserves everything that he's earned and that he has coming."
The question remains how long it will take for him to get what “he has coming” and how much pain there will be until it happens.