Eventually, we’ll get the full and complete details of the contract given by the Cardinals on Thursday to quarterback Kyler Murray. Even without the full breakdown, enough has emerged to say this, without equivocation or hesitation.
Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson got a much better deal than Murray.
Via Albert Breer of SI.com, Murray will receive $265.69 million over the next seven years. Although his five-year extension carries an annual value of $100,000 more than the average of Watson’s five-year deal, Watson’s contract begins now. It wasn’t an extension; it was a new, five-year contract.
Thus, while Murray has a new-money average of $46.1 million, he’ll make $37.95 million per year over the next seven. And he’s under contract for seven years, not five. This delays his timeline for getting another new contract.
Also, the full $230 million paid to Watson is fully guaranteed at signing. Per Breer, Murray’s full guarantee at signing is only $105 million.
In fairness to Murray, Watson had more leverage. He had four teams at the table, and when he said “no thanks” to the Browns, the Browns realized that they had to up the ante in order to avoid having to mend fences with Baker Mayfield. So the Browns went all in, offering a five-year, fully-guaranteed $230 million deal.
Murray didn’t have anything close to that. He was under contract for two more years, with the franchise-tag dance thereafter. The Cardinals had shown no willingness to trade him. While there may have been a Watson-style competition for Murray if he’d been available in trade, he wasn’t. Arizona held the cards. Murray got the best deal he could, given his circumstances.
Still, Watson’s deal is far better. Primarily because he managed to land in much better circumstances. Even with all those allegations of misconduct made against him.