Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Kyler Murray has a decision to make by Monday regarding his future in football. Murray, who was incredible in leading Oklahoma to the Playoff, already signed a minor league deal with the Oakland A’s after being drafted ninth overall in the 2018 MLB Draft.
Murray’s contract gave him $4.8 million in bonus money from being taken ninth, which means he’s guaranteed to have that coming in, but there’s now a near consensus that he will be a late first round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. That means he’s likely to get that much guaranteed on his NFL contract if he does indeed go — Lamar Jackson was taken 32nd overall a year ago and got $4.5 million guaranteed on his $9.4 million contract for that slot.
With that, the financials are likely in favor of the NFL as is what is clearly his desire to play football. However, the Oakland A’s and Major League Baseball are reportedly meeting with Murray on Sunday and are trying to figure out a way to get him to forego the draft and stick with the A’s, including restructuring his deal.
According to multiple reports, Murray is asking for a significant increase in guaranteed money from Oakland — as he should, given he has incredible leverage right now — although the number is in flux.
Jeff Passan of ESPN noted that to make this work, the A’s would potentially be working out a major league deal with Murray, which would be nearly unprecedented. As Passan notes, draftees aren’t allowed to sign MLB deals, but since he already has his minor league deal, he technically would be allowed to restructure now.
The whole thing is fascinating because Murray was drafted higher than many expected in the MLB Draft and is a fairly raw baseball prospect, even if incredibly talented. To give him a major league deal would be a fairly incredible move, given the resources it would require — both financially and in taking a big league roster spot.
MLB representatives joining the A’s also tells you how much baseball wants Murray’s potential star power. Murray choosing baseball over football would be huge for baseball and they know it, not just because of Murray’s potential, but what it would say about baseball as a sport. Once again, the question will be, or at least should be, about what Murray wants to do. Baseball provides a different level of security (financially and health-wise) and earning potential on the field if he reaches his full peak. However, football’s not far behind in earning potential, appears to be the thing he really loves doing, and football’s stars, particularly at quarterback, are far bigger stars in the overall sense, which is certainly an appealing thing.