Kyler Murray has committed fully to the NFL.
The Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, who was drafted No. 9 overall by the Oakland A's last year and signed a baseball contract including $4.6 million, released a statement Monday indicating he's all in on the pigskin.
"Moving forward, I am firmly and fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback. Football has been my love and passion my entire life. I was raised to play QB, and I very much look forward to dedicating 100% of myself to being the best QB possible and winning NFL championships. I have started an extensive training program to further prepare myself for upcoming NFL workouts and interviews. I eagerly await the opportunity to continue to prove to NFL decision makers that I am the franchise QB in this draft."
But will QB-needy teams be all in on Murray?
The explosive dual-threat passer tallied 54 touchdowns and only seven interceptions last season, when he followed in Baker Mayfield's footsteps in his lone starting season to become the second consecutive Heisman-winning Sooner QB. The NFL game is changing to the point where even the most football-y of guys could consider Murray despite concerns he'll measure below 5-foot-10 at the scouting combine later this month.
Still, there's no recent precedent for an NFL quarterback that short to have a long and successful career. Sure, Drew Brees and Russell Wilson will have a home in Canton some day, but (A) they're both bigger than Murray; and (B) they're the rarest of rare and neither was a first-round pick.
And even though Murray has now stated he'll forego his baseball and dual-sport ambitions to make football his singular focus, it's a stunning 180 from only two weeks ago, when he appeared ill-prepared and very much undecided when queried on the topic in multiple awkward Super Bowl LIII radio row promotional interviews. Rumblings exist that Murray is receiving curious advice from his father, former baseball player Calvin Murray, only enhancing an already volatile situation.
Murray reportedly will give back $1.29 million of the $1.5 million signing bonus from the A's and forfeit the remaining $3.16 million, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. The A's will put Murray on the restricted list and retain his rights, but they won't receive any form of draft compensation.
Indeed, Murray isn't the only one taking a risk here, though his appears to be the biggest. Could he again follow in Mayfield's footsteps as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft? That likely would require the Arizona Cardinals, who currently own the pick, trading down to a QB-needy team. But it's not out of the realm of possibility, and if it were to happen, Murray would collect north of $33 million guaranteed — far more than he could've made directly from the A's for quite some time.
The timing of Murray's decision shouldn't be discounted. He just might be in the running alongside Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins to be this year's first passer off the board in what's widely considered an iffy QB class. But that should change next April, when Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa, Oregon's Justin Herbert and Georgia's Jake Fromm, among others, could all garner No. 1 overall consideration in what could be a rare group pass of passers.
And if Murray were to fall, say, to the final pick in Round 1 this April, his guaranteed signing bonus would be closer to $8 million guaranteed. Or if he falls out of Round 1 altogether, his contract isn't guaranteed at all.
Of course, Murray's health isn't anymore guaranteed than yours and mine, but most would also agree that he's taking on a lot more injury risks with his decision to play football instead of baseball. Surely, it's all part of the complex decision, even one that seemed to be heading in this direction for some time.