When the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft gets underway next Thursday, there is a chance Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray's name is called with the No. 1 overall pick. If it isn't, the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner shouldn't have to wait long to be chosen.
It has been a whirlwind few months for Murray, who the Oakland A's selected with the ninth overall pick of last June's MLB Draft. It was a bold move, especially considering Oakland agreed to give Murray a $4.6 million bonus to sign with them and commit to baseball.
However, after a huge fall on the gridiron, many began to wonder if Murray would have a change of heart. Eventually, he did, and spurned the A's to pursue his football career.
Murray has to pay back the portion of his bonus that he's already received, as well as forfeit the rest of it. According to Sports Illustrated's Robert Klemko, the $4.6 million is only the beginning of what Murray is giving up by picking football.
Per Klemko's latest feature, the A's offered Murray eight figures in guaranteed money when they tried to persuade him to stick with baseball earlier this winter.
Here’s what Murray wasn’t disclosing, though. According to a source close to the family, the A’s contingent that visited Kyler in January offered him a contract worth $14 million in guaranteed cash, in addition to his signing bonus. (The deal would have required that Oakland take the extreme step of adding Murray to its 40-man roster and would have paid out a figure similar to that of a top 10 NFL draft pick. For context, Bears linebacker Roquan Smith, who went eighth in 2018, signed a four-year deal worth $18.5 million.) But Kyler turned down that offer, and his family has kept those financials out of the media.
That's a strong offer by Oakland. Sure, Murray would have a way to go before he could earn a lucrative major league contract, but $14 million just to get your foot in the door is tough to turn down.
Murray has been rumored to be the preferred target of the Arizona Cardinals, who owns the No. 1 pick, throughout this offseason. However, Arizona would presumably need to work out a trade of last year's first-round pick, quarterback Josh Rosen, to make room for Murray.
The 2019 NFL Draft will be held April 25-27 in Nashville.