Sunday night and Monday morning news ricochetted around the sports world that Kyler Murray had scrubbed the Cardinals from his Instagram and Twitter feeds and even unfollowed his home franchise.
Immediately, everyone broke out their Jump To Conclusion mats and assumed the worst. Was Kyler already unhappy about the direction of his extension? Was Kyler fed up with the torrent of criticism he's faced since the Cardinals season ended? Was Kyler longing for the comfortable confines of Texas? Is there a deep rift behind closed doors between Kyler and the organization and this was the first public crack for us all to see?
Let's slow down for a moment and consider these possibilities and why it seems very unlikely.
For his contract, Kyler can't sign one until the new league year begins. Typically, contracts of the potential size and length Kyler Murray would be seeking take time. Josh Allen didn't sign his extension until August. Patrick Mahomes got his mega-deal in July. Why would Kyler be any different? Its entirely possible there are early indications that the team and Kyler's agent may not be on the same page but why press the nuclear button now when your leverage is minimal? It just doesn't make sense.
Now lets look at the "criticism" Kyler has faced and whether its driven him to seek a more appreciative audience for his ample skill set. The first real dose of criticism Kyler has faced from the media or fan base was directly related to his performance down the stretch. Over the Cardinals last six games, Kyler led them to a 1-5 record and threw 5 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Against the Rams specifically, he had a 0:4 TD to IN ratio and the Cardinals combined to lose two games to the Rams in the final six weeks, including the playoffs, by a combined 30 points. In the playoffs alone, Kyler had the worst QBR, the worst passer rating, the worst TD:INT ratio and the fewest passing yards of all playoff QB's. If he can't handle some critiques or that kind of performance, he's in the wrong profession. Any criticism Kyler has faced is warranted considering his performance and should be constructively used to fuel his ambition not his social media habits. Assuming Kyler is responding to criticism is assuming the worst of the young signal caller.
I don't know if Kyler ultimately wants to play in Texas but its obvious now wouldn't be the time to make that happen. Unless Murray is the world's worst chess player, and we know that he isn't, it would make exactly zero sense to push over the first domino on social media in order to get the end result of a different zip code after he just completed his third year.
As far as a rift between Kyler and the Cardinals, I just don't see it. The Cardinals have gone above and beyond to effectively cocoon Kyler from the kind of treatment many quarterbacks face after three unsuccessful years. No one publicly questioned his toughness when he left a must win playoff game in Week 17 in 2020. No one has ever gone Doc Rivers on Kyler when asked if they can win with him at QB. If Kyler has some issues with the team or his teammates, its managed to avoid any hint of detection from all other parties until this very moment. That doesn't seem likely in this day and age.
Often times the simplest answers are the most likely. Could the Cardinals be re-branding with new uniforms and this is the first step? Did Kyler hire someone to help his social feeds to try and cash in on the increasingly lucrative world of personal athlete branding on social media? Was he bored?
Right now, we don't know. It would behoove Kyler and/or the Cardinals to clarify this soon before more poisonous story lines make their way into the water supply.
Is Kyler unhappy? I don't think so but its up to Kyler to lead once again.