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Kyler Murray ‘homework’ clause an embarrassment for Arizona Cardinals, even after its removal

The Arizona Cardinals did irreparable damage this week to their credibility while simultaneously shaming quarterback Kyler Murray.

The team successfully included an “independent study” clause in Murray’s new contract that demanded four hours of homework a week to avoid defaulting on the agreement.

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“Never seen that before,” one executive said.

The clause specified that Murray would not receive credit for studying on an iPad if he was simultaneously playing video games, watching TV or surfing the internet.

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Then the information leaked before Murray’s contract even had officially hit the NFL players union’s league-wide database.

Some league sources believe Arizona owner Michael Bidwill was behind the idea to send his franchise QB that message, perhaps in response to agent Erik Burkhardt’s page-long February statement urging Arizona to pay Murray because “actions speak louder than words.”

Regardless, it did way more harm than good.

Not only is it clear the Cardinals don’t believe Murray works hard enough. The organization just demonstrated it is willing to pay a player who doesn’t work hard enough to lead them.

The public blowback was so swift that Arizona already has agreed to remove the clause from Murray’s contract.

“Because it doesn’t just make Kyler look bad. It makes the team look bad, too,” one source said.

But the damage already was done in more ways than one.

From the perspective of many NFL agents, Murray’s contract was a step back for quarterbacks.

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Deshaun Watson just got $230 million fully guaranteed from the Cleveland Browns despite sexual assault allegations that are threatening his 2022 season.

Murray’s $230.5 million in new money contains only $103.3 million in full guarantees, with up to $160 million in guarantees available, plus contingencies, per overthecap.com.

Even with the “homework” clause removed, for example, a startling $9.3 million of Murray’s money is tied to workout bonuses. It’s an average of $1.6 million from 2024 through 2028.

“That’s high for a franchise quarterback,” one source said.

To compare, Buffalo’s Josh Allen averages $750,000 per year in workout bonuses in his new deal. Patrick Mahomes has a flat $550,000 annually all the way through with Kansas City.

The decision to include the clause also reflects a ridiculous lack of judgment from the Cardinals’ brass of Bidwill, GM Steve Keim and coach Kliff Kingsbury, assuming all three knew the clause was in there.

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There is no justification for paying a player big money if the team has to insert a clause that indicates they don’t trust his work ethic to begin with.

Burkhardt, who also represents Kingsbury, didn’t respond to a request for comment. Obviously, every agent prefers to avoid contingencies if they can. So clearly, this was the price to get Murray’s deal done.

“Obviously something that’s happened in the past led to them putting it in there,” one source said.

Murray held a press conference to defend himself once the news leaked. The Cardinals released a statement that tried to blame the media for creating a distraction.

But this was a mess of their own making. This is bad business. And the Cardinals’ early actions speak louder than their most recent words.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Baltimore Ravens former MVP Lamar Jackson is the next quarterback due to land a huge deal. But Jackson doesn’t have an agent and admitted “there will probably be a cutoff at some point” on negotiations if nothing gets done before the regular season. Coach John Harbaugh said “both sides are very motivated to get the job done.” Jackson said “I think so, we’ll have to see,” when asked if they could reach an agreement. It’d be in the QB’s best interest to have security. He’s playing on the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, making $23 million in 2022. And it would be in Baltimore’s interest to pay him like what he is: one of the most dynamic and entertaining players in the sport … Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah created quite a stir by telling USA TODAY Sports that “the one asset where you get nervous about not burning it down is quarterback.” The first-year GM called incumbent Kirk Cousins “a good quarterback” but admitted “we don’t have Tom Brady” and “we don’t have Pat[rick] Mahomes.” And he said the Super Bowl “is more likely to win if you have that quarterback. It’s very unlikely to have that quarterback.” Should be interesting to watch Cousins respond as first-year coach Kevin O’Connell looks to get the most out of a roster that features star wide receiver Justin Jefferson … Jets legend Joe Klecko and late Giants coach Dan Reeves have been named Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists in the seniors and coach/contributor categories, respectively, for 2023. Voters will meet in mid-August to send three senior names for possible election and one coach/contributor … Seahawks wideout D.K. Metcalf admitted he bluffed his threat of a ‘hold in’ – reporting for camp but not practicing – to help get his new three-year, $72 million contract with Seattle and GM John Schneider. “I was going to be here, as much as I bluffed to John,” Metcalf told reporters. “I wasn’t leaving. I wanted to be here. I’m glad that we got something done.” San Francisco 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel is using the hold-in tactic seeking the big receiver deal. And coach Kyle Shanahan said “we have moved on to Trey” Lance as the 49ers’ starting quarterback, while giving Jimmy Garoppolo’s agents permission to find a trade … Texans second-round pick John Metchie III announced he’s been diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia, which he called “the most curable form of leukemia,” and that he will not be playing football this season. “My main focus will be on my health and recovery,” he said in a statement. “I cannot wait to come back stronger than ever.”

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THEY SAID IT

“I’m not really sure how you would regulate that, to be honest. Like, how would you know? You gonna put a camera in my house? – Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton, who enjoys playing video games, on how the Cardinals would have monitored Murray’s gaming


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