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Cardinals’ Murray becomes second highest-paid QB in the NFL; Jackson’s bar set high

Kyler Murray’s contract with the Arizona Cardinals makes him the second highest-paid QB in the NFL. How does that affect Lamar Jackson and the Ravens?

Kyler Murray’s contract with the Arizona Cardinals makes him the second highest-paid QB in the NFL. How does that affect Lamar Jackson and the Ravens?
Kirk IrwinGetty Images

Murray received his wish, he’s staying in the desert, with the Arizona Cardinals.

The former first round pick agreed to terms on a five-year extension with the Cardinals, and it’s not just another NFL deal. It’s a deal that makes the 24-year-old the second-highest paid quarterback ($46.1 million) annually, behind only Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers ($50.3 million),

Deshaun Watson’s deal with the Cleveland Browns has an annual value of $46 million, while superstar Patrick Mahomes’s deal with the Kansas City Chiefs averages $45 million.

The exact details? Arizona is paying Murray a total of $230.5 million with $160 million guaranteed, throughout the 2028 season.

Murray has carried Arizona

Murray had already been under contract through the 2023 season after Arizona exercised their fifth-year option on his rookie deal back in April. But Murray gave the Cardinals a scare earlier this year when he wiped his Instagram page clean following the Pro Bowl, leaving just a picture of himself at Oklahoma from 2018 and another one from the Pro Bowl.

In 2020, the QB was injured and frustrated throughout the second half of the season and took responsibility for the Cardinals losing a postseason berth. Arizona tightly lost six of its last nine games, missing the playoffs.

In 2021, Arizona and Murray turned the tables around. The Cardinals started 7-0, and Murray was thriving enough to be part of the MVP conversation. An ankle injury did cost him three games, and the Cardinals finished the season 4-6. During all that, Murray established himself as one of the NFL’s top young quarterbacks.

Why Murray’s contract affects Lamar Jackson

The Baltimore Ravens have been eager to extend star quarterback Lamar Jackson for quite sometime now. They have consistently made it clear that they are “working at Lamar’s pace,” which indicates that the former unanimous NFL MVP is the tentative one. And now with Murray’s huge deal, and other new QB contracts signed, Jackson knows his value is getting higher and higher.

Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, Kyler Murray, among others, have set the bar for what Jackson will eventually earn. To say the least, Jackson should still be aiming to top Watson’s guaranteed deal.

Murray stats and accomplishments

Back to Murray. Since 2019, Murray slowly took the Cardinals up the stairway; from five wins in 2019 to eight in 2020 and 11 in 2021, all while setting records. The Texan was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2019, a Pro Bowler in two consecutive seasons, in addition to being twice named a team captain (2020-21).

Additionally, Murray is the first quarterback in franchise history to be named to the Pro Bowl twice in his first three seasons, joining Mahomes, Rodgers and Russell Wilson as the only NFL QBs named to the Pro Bowl each of the last two seasons (2020-21).

To top it all off, Murray is the first player in the history of the NFL with at least 70 passing touchdowns, 20 rushing touchdowns, 3,500 passing yards, 400 rushing yards and 17 games with a completion percentage of at least 70% in his first three seasons. He has the best overall completion percentage (66.86) for a player in his first three years in the NFL.


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