Kyler Murray’s decision to forego a baseball career — at least for now — to play in the NFL surprised many for a couple of reasons.
The odds of suffering a serious injury in baseball are far less, and unlike football, every penny of a contract is guaranteed.
Nearly eight years ago, Archie Bradley faced a similar decision and chose to sign with the Diamondbacks rather than play football and baseball at the University of Oklahoma.
Bradley, who is from Broken Arrow, Okla., remains an avid Sooners fan, so he saw Murray play a lot, including live. To Bradley, Murray is making the right decision.
“I was probably the one person who thought he was going to do that,” Bradley said. “I know it doesn’t always mean you are going to have successful NFL career, but the guy is the Heisman Trophy winner, the best player in college football.”
The A’s drafted Murray ninth overall last year and signed him to a contract that included a $4.66 million bonus. According to reports, Murray had received $1.5 million of that bonus and is repaying most of that amount to the A’s, who maintain his rights.
Barring an unforeseen occurrence between now and the NFL draft, April 25-27, Murray appears certain of being drafted in the first round and maybe in the top 10.
The money is good in that stratosphere. Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen, the 10th overall pick a year ago, signed a contract that includes $17.6 million guaranteed, with a signing bonus of nearly $11 million, according to overthecap.com.
If Rosen proves himself, there is even bigger money to be made down the line, too. There are 16 quarterbacks who have contracts that average more than $20 million a year.
“If you’re a first-round quarterback, you’re going to be given a chance to play in the first couple of years in the NFL and start,” Bradley said. “In terms of baseball, who knows if he (Murray) ever is going to make it to the big leagues? And even if he did, best-case scenario is it will take two or three years to get there.
“And then you start talking about money, you’re three years at the league minimum, then you have the arbitration system. He has a chance to cash in for more upfront money and be the face of an NFL franchise rather than falling into a system with minor leagues.”
Some former two-sport athletes, most notably Deion Sanders, have said Murray should have stuck with baseball.
“If I was in his shoes, I'm picking up the baseball bat and I'm not looking back,” Sanders said last month on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
Not Bradley, who acknowledges his situation was comparable to Murray’s only in that both played football and baseball at an elite level in high school.
Bradley signed with the Diamondbacks in 2011, the summer after he graduated from high school and never played football in college. His decision was either to play baseball and get a $5 million bonus or see if he could win the quarterback job at Oklahoma.
“It’s a little different turning it down out of high school with no college experience,” Bradley said.
Money was a consideration, but Bradley also followed his heart. Baseball, he said back then, was his first love. “That’s what it came down to.”
Maybe Murray feels that way about football. That is certainly what he will tell NFL teams at the scouting combine next week.
Oh, if NFL scouts need another opinion about Murray, they can call Bradley, who thinks Murray is as good as the quarterback who preceded him at Oklahoma: Baker Mayfield.
“I saw him play live,” Bradley said. "Watching Kyler is like watching Baker but Kyler is fast. I don’t know if he’s as accurate as Baker but he’s pretty close. Kyler can throw it, too.”
Source: Kent Somers | azcentral.com