The first few months of NFL free agency are largely about teams adding talent from other clubs, but as Week 1 draws near, that attention shifts to extending in-house players. 2019 draft picks outside of the first round and 2018 first-round picks entering the season on their fifth-year options are prime candidates, and there are always a handful of veterans on expiring deals who have earned pay raises.
With veterans reporting to NFL training camps across the country on July 26, a soft deadline is fastly approaching. Based on public reports, conversations we’ve had over the past few months and some educated guesses, we’re projecting 10 extensions we could see inked before Week 1 kicks off on September 8.
Negotiations with the front office and via the media got underway for Murray and company all the way back in February, and five months later, they appear to be in a much better place. ESPN’s Jeff Darlington recently reported that talks between the two sides are progressing and a new deal before training camp is a “very reasonable likelihood.”
The current narrative on Murray provides about as good an example of recency bias as you can find, with the lasting image of the 2021 season for many fans and analysts a very ugly playoff performance against the Los Angeles Rams. What’s being forgotten is just how good Murray was to start the season before DeAndre Hopkins was lost to injury in Week 14:
|Kyler Murray||Passing grade (rank)||Big-time throw % (rank)||Yards/att. (rank)||Expected points added/play (rank)*|
|Weeks 1-14||89.9 (1st)||8.8% (1st)||8.7 (1st)||.208 (4th)|
|Weeks 15-19||71.9 (12th)||6.2% (8th)||5.9 (28th)||-.099 (28th)|
* per rbsdm.com
Murray has back-to-back Pro Bowl nods to his name and almost immediately transformed the Cardinals into a playoff team in a gauntlet NFC West division. His fifth-year option for 2023 is the maximum $29.703 million as a result of his Pro Bowl honors, and while he can stand to improve elements of his game, as any young quarterback can, he’s proven already he deserves to be among the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league.
Contract Projection: Six years, $280 million ($46.67 million per year), $155 million total guaranteed
One of the more fascinating contract negotiation sagas in recent memory could be resolved before the 2022 season gets underway, but nothing is certain. Jackson recently spoke with USA Today’s Safid Deen, and when asked if he’ll sign an extension before training camp, he replied, “Hopefully.” Contract discussions between the two sides have been ongoing, with Jackson currently scheduled to play the 2022 season on a $23.016 million fifth-year option.