Kyler Murray’s new contract with Arizona Cardinals includes strange, mandatory ‘independent study’ hours for the quarterback


Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs with the ball against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)AP


The Arizona Cardinals gave starting quarterback Kyler Murray a $230.5 million contract extension last week to stay with the team. It includes a little bit of homework, too.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Murray’s new deal includes a strange clause that requires him to honor four hours of “independent study” of film each game week.

The contract specifically states the following: “Player shall not receive any credit for Independent Study with respect to any time periods during which any material is displayed or played on an iPad or electronic device if (a) Player is not personally studying or watching the material while it is being displayed or played or (b) Player is engaged in any other activity that may distract his attention (for example, watching television, playing video games or browsing the internet) while such material is being displayed or played.”

If Murray violates that part of his contract, it counts as a default, which puts his guaranteed money in jeopardy. It’s not clear how the Cardinals will enforce or monitor this clause.

Rapoport followed up the initial report by saying Murray already does four hours of film study anyway, but it still might be an adjustment for the star quarterback.

Here’s why: In a 2021 interview with The New York Times, Murray admitted that watching film isn’t a priority for him!

“I think I was blessed with the cognitive skills to just go out there and just see it before it happens,” Murray, 24, said. “I’m not one of those guys that’s going to sit there and kill myself watching film. I don’t sit there for 24 hours and break down this team and that team and watch every game because, in my head, I see so much.”

Murray’s new deal with the Cardinals at $46.1 million is the second-highest deal in the NFL behind reigning MVP and Green Bay’s starting QB Aaron Rodgers at $50.3 on an annual average value basis. He’ll hope to live up to that contract.

Murray has made the Pro Bowl the past two years under center for the Cardinals. He threw for 3,787 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions last season despite missing three games with an ankle injury. While the Cardinals started the season 7-0, their season ended in disastrous fashion, going 2-4 down the stretch of the season before being blown out in the Wildcard round of the playoffs.

If they want to get further than that in 2022, they’ll need more from the newly rewarded Murray.

- Aron Yohannes; @aronyohannes