Kyler Murray has two years left on his contract, and would like a lucrative extension after earning Rookie of the Year and two Pro Bowls in his first three seasons.
While it has been a polarizing issue among fans and media, Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Justin Pugh supports the fourth-year quarterback’s desire to get paid before stepping on the field again.
“I’ll never fault a guy for trying to cash in on all their hard work,” Pugh told Cardinals announcer Dave Pasch on the Pasch Pod. “There’s a finite time for a player with his skillset to get paid. There is a business to football. Everyone wants to forget about the business of football. Fans don’t want to hear about it, and I get it. You want to see us playing on Sundays. But at the same time, if Kyler were to go out there and not get paid, and then go out there and have an injury and never get paid, he sacrificed that finite period of time to maximize his capital.”
– Returning instead of retiring
– Getting reps at center
– The "mental sweat" of center
– Confidence in @K1
– Best gift from a QB#PaschPod ⬇️
Spotify: https://t.co/NueAhL03KH pic.twitter.com/sXZBf0D4eP
— The Dave Pasch Podcast (@PaschPod) June 20, 2022
Pugh believes Murray deserves a big extension because the signal-caller is responsible for turning around the Cardinals’ fortunes after joining a 3-13 team in 2019.
“I was here four years ago when we didn’t have Kyler Murray,” Pugh said. “Do you remember that team? We had the worst offense in NFL history. When Kyler got here, a light went back on. The relevance came back. We started playing primetime games again. We’ve been in the playoffs. We’ve been relevant. Our fanbase has something to look forward to every year. There’s something to be said about that.”
While Murray’s production has increased each season, there is a faction of people, including former Cardinals quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton, who have questioned his leadership skills.
“The thing that concerns me is some of the leadership deficiencies I’ve seen, some of the body language I’ve seen from Kyler,” Palmer said in December. “When you’re down in Detroit, you just can’t do that. You need to keep — even though you’re faking it — you need to keep a rah-rah face on. There are just certain things you need to do as a quarterback.”
It’s something Pugh believes has been blown out of proportion.
“Obviously there’s people that don’t like the way he looks (on the field),” Pugh said. “Look at Eli Manning — the Eli Manning face that’s plastered everywhere. No matter what happens, you’re going to have issues. If someone came and followed you around with a microscope — I saw Odell Beckham deal with this in New York City — if everywhere you go you have a camera on you, you’re going to do something that somebody is going to have something negative to say. Especially in the world we live in now.
“So does Kyler have a mopey attitude on the sidelines from time to time? Yeah. So do I. But they don’t have a camera on me when I’m sitting there angry after we have a turnover or when we lose a game.”
While Murray is not as extroverted as other quarterbacks, Pugh is happy with his leadership.
“When I was in New York, Eli Manning was not a vocal leader,” Pugh said. “He was the first one in, he was the last one out. He did everything right. Kyler comes in and does everything we ask him to do.”