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What was the ‘independent study’ clause in Kyler Murray’s contract and why was it removed?

The Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback had an addendum written into his new agreement but it was too much of a ‘distraction’ so has been taken out.

Update:
Jul 27, 2022; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws during training camp at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe CamporealeUSA TODAY Sports

It’s not often that a ‘unique’ contract clause gets so much attention but as training camps crack up this week, that’s exactly what has happened with Kyler Murray. And the reaction has forced the Arizona Cardinals to remove it.

Kyler Murray questioned about new clause

The Cardinals decision to delete the ‘unique clause’ from the quarterback’s massive new contract came after the backlash when it was first highlighted on Monday. The issue? It mandated four hours of independent film study per week. And in a statement Thursday night, the team confirmed that it caused an unintended “distraction” for the team so was not going to remain.

Murray signed a five-year contract this month worth up to $230.5 million with $160 million guaranteed. Reports got out that the deal included the "independent study addendum," which Murray faced questions about Thursday as narratives around commitment and professionalism multiplied.

“After seeing the distraction it created, we removed the addendum from the contract,” the Cardinals said in a statement. “It was clearly perceived in ways that were never intended. Our confidence in Kyler Murray is as high as it’s ever been and nothing demonstrates our belief in his ability to lead this team more than the commitment reflected in this contract.”

Earlier Thursday, Murray would not answer a question about whether he was bothered by the Cardinals adding the clause to the contract.

“There’s multiple different ways to watch film. Of course we all watch film,” Murray said, speaking to the media on a day he was not scheduled for press access to share his stance. “That doesn’t need to be questioned. I refuse to let my work ethic and my preparation be in question. I’ve put in an incomprehensible amount of time in what I do.”

With the Colts, quarterback Peyton Manning said he watched three hours of film each day before practice during the regular season. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts said last season he invests at least 10 hours each week breaking down video of his performance and upcoming opponents.

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What did Kyler Murray’s clause say?

Murray’s five-year contract outlined that he must start the weekly film study on the first Monday following the end of training camp and continue weekly until Arizona’s final game of the season with bye weeks the only exception. Murray didn’t put an estimate on the amount of time he spends with the clicker, calling the current conversation around his work habits “disrespectful.”

"To think that I can accomplish everything I've accomplished in my career and not be student of the game, not have that passion, not take this serious, it's almost disrespectful," he said. "It's almost a joke. To me ... I'm flattered (someone) to think that at my size I can go out there and not prepare for the game and take it serious. To play the position I play in this league, it's hard. It's too hard (not to study)."

The addendum would have begun this season and lasted through 2028, when the Cardinals can pick up a club option. According to the clause, Murray would have been required to study “the material provided to him by the Club in order to prepare for the Club’s next upcoming game.”

Credit would not have been given for independent study if Murray were not “personally studying or watching the material while it is being displayed or played” in instances where he used an iPad or other type of electronic device, per the contract. If Murray were simultaneously doing something else that distracts him when film is being played, he also would not get credit. If Murray failed to record his weekly four hours of independent film study, he would have been ruled “in default.”

Murray, 24, threw for 3,787 yards and 24 touchdowns last season. He went 9-5 in his 14 starts and was named to his second straight Pro Bowl.

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