Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press
Oklahoma quarterback and Oakland Athletics draftee Kyler Murray is deciding whether to continue his football career in the NFL or move on to baseball, and it appears money could play an important factor.
According to Mike Leslie of WFAA, Murray is hoping to get $15 million from the Athletics to stick with baseball. He will reportedly declare for the NFL draft if he doesn’t get “big-time money.” However, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported the $15 million figure is “too high” but that the A’s and Murray’s representatives “are working on something creative to accommodate him.”
Jeff Passan of ESPN shared details of the financial discussions between the two parties:
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
During a meeting in Dallas today, the possibility of Oakland guaranteeing money in addition to Murray’s $4.66 million signing bonus was raised, sources tell ESPN. To do so, Oakland would need to add Murray to its 40-man roster. He still could develop in the minor leagues.
Passan noted Murray could receive a major league contract from the A’s, adding that “the notion of a player who has never taken an at-bat in the minor leagues winding up with a big league deal shows how special a situation Kyler Murray’s is.”
The outfield prospect was drafted No. 9 overall in the MLB draft in June and signed a $4.66 million signing bonus.
While Murray had limited exposure on the football field at the time, he exploded during the 2018 season for the Sooners and won the Heisman Trophy as the best player in the country.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller polled scouts and executives who said the quarterback “would be a lock as a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft.”
For this reason, Murray is reportedly expected to declare for the NFL draft before Monday’s deadline, according to Slusser.
Still, the Athletics won’t let their highly regarded prospect go down without a fight. Jon Heyman of Fancred discussed his value on the baseball field:
Jon Heyman @JonHeyman
Top A’s execs are in Dallas meeting with Kyler Murray to try to convince him to stick with baseball. The Heisman trophy winner has until tomorrow to declare for NFL draft. Oakland gave him 4.6M bonus after making him a 1st rounder in MLB draft. Scouts love his bat and foot speed.
Per Leslie, even general manager Billy Beane went to meet with the young prospect.
This is what makes the guaranteed money so important. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was the last pick in the first round last season and still signed a four-year deal worth $9.47 million with a $4.97 million signing bonus. Murray could get at least that in the first round, and if he plays well, he could make at least $20 million per year by his fifth season.
In baseball, the player would have to get to the majors and then have three years before reaching arbitration, six before hitting free agency.
Giving him guaranteed money this week would likely ease some of his concerns about switching sports.