Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray may not be in Arizona in 2024 but could be a fit with the Broncos. With veteran Russell Wilson on life support in the Rocky Mountains, Murray could be a natural replacement in Denver.
Kyler Murray, Denver Broncos, Are A Natural Fit in 2024
Both Sean Payton and Jonathan Gannon find themselves in the same first-year predicament. Gannon has a quarterback on the shelf until possibly mid-season. Payton, meanwhile, has Wilson who has been an unexpected bust and will be on a very short leash in 2023.
The incentive for both teams is obvious. Wilson is heading into, if not in the twilight of an amazing career. The one-time Seahawks quarterback led Seattle to two Super Bowls, winning one and coming up painfully short in another. Wilson had fallen out of favor with teammates, team brass, and head coach Pete Carroll. The subsequent trade to the Broncos looked to be a coup for Denver. After one horrific season and the firing of first-time head coach Nathaniel Hackett, Payton is now tasked with putting the pieces back together.
The Murray situation in Arizona is tricky, but not impossible to get out of in 2024. General Manager Monti Ossenfort and Gannon have no emotional or professional ties to the former No.1 pick. With many in NFL circles predicting a season with as few as zero wins, Arizona could be in line for the top pick. With USC’s quarterback Caleb Williams and UNC’s Drake Maye in the mix, the Cardinals could have a transformative moment for the organization.
Sound 🔊 on!
USC FOOTBALL !🏈
Caleb Williams gets a roughing the passer call, and still throws a TD pass to
Taj Washington !
FIGHT ON! GO TROJANS!
— Curtis from moreno valley (@MudrickRay) June 24, 2023
Both the Broncos and Arizona would have to make the kinds of moves that turn heads. If Wilson could find enough to make him an option elsewhere, expect Denver to move him. The Minnesota Vikings are closer to the postseason than the Broncos. Kirk Cousins, who finds a new way to self-destruct, especially in the postseason, could be willing to take a flier if they think he’s their guy.
Mentioned in story with @RapSheet last weekend on looming changes with the #Cardinals that Sean Payton had been doing homework on the Arizona job. He's a Kyler Murray fan, and with no GM in place, it'd be an opportunity to set up the whole operation.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 11, 2023
Making the Contract Work
It is worth noting when the Cardinals were looking for a new head coach, Payton had a greater interest in Murray than the organization. He’s also an offensive guru. Murray craves that and would be willing to be part of that kind of move. As for the math, Denver and Arizona would have to do some work.
Kyler Murray’s contract is workable in 2024.
If Arizona were to make him a post-June trade, they would take a dead cap hit of $13 million. However, they would also keep over $38 million in their pocket, according to OverTheCap.
Denver would need to re-work his contract as his cap number is over $51 million in 2024. It never gets below $43 million over the next five seasons. For a career, Murray has thrown for 13,848 yards with 84 touchdowns. He has 41 interceptions, 2,204 rushing yards, and 23 rushing touchdowns. His passer rating is 92.5 and averages 242.9 passing yards per game. Entering an injury-shortened 2023, the trajectory of where his numbers could go with Payton as his coach will increase.
If Russell Wilson goes belly-up this season, or simply doesn’t show improvement, Kyler Murray fits the Broncos the way Wilson could not. That’s great for Arizona, great for Denver, and pretty good for any zip code Russell Wilson calls home.