With the recent news coming out of Arizona that Kyler Murray will not play another down under his current contract, is it possible that Baker Mayfield could wind up playing for the Arizona Cardinals?
On the surface, Baker Mayfield ending up in Arizona sounds farfetched. But if the 2022 NFL offseason has told us anything, it’s that nothing is out of the realm of possibilities.
In a one-month time frame the NFL has set a record for the sheer amount of star player movement, and just when you think it is over…bam, another one becomes a possibility.
The unthinkable trades of Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Devante Adams, and Tyreek Hill are just the tip of the iceberg. Tom Brady’s unretiring basically became a non-story. It has been nothing short of wild.
Now, news has come out that Kyler Murray is not expected to play unless he gets a new contract with the Cardinals. Could that possibly open the doors for Baker Mayfield to end up with Arizona? How would that even work?
How could Baker Mayfield end up in Arizona?
First, it needs to be addressed that Murray’s threat needs to be taken seriously, as he is the only quarterback with actual leverage. The former No. q overall pick could literally just take his ball and go home in this situation. Murray, a stand-out baseball player in college while at the University of Oklahoma, was selected ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 MLB draft. The Athletics still own his rights as a result.
If Arizona decides to move on from Murray, they will need to find a trading partner. In this quarterback-needy market, finding a dance partner will be super easy…barely an inconvenience. The Carolina Panthers would immediately become the front runners to trade for Murray’s services. But in order for Mayfield to wind up in Arizona, it could be a three-team trade with the Cleveland Browns getting involved or, in the most likely scenario, two separate trades.
Would Arizona want Baker Mayfield?
Why would the Cardinals be interested in Mayfield? Two reasons come to mind: Arizona’s current options and familiarity. Mayfield played under head coach Kliff Kingsbury while the two were at Texas Tech. Although their time together ended unceremoniously, this would be an opportunity to show how much they both have grown in the nine years that have passed — and Kingsbury has tried to claim they were both beyond their previous issues.
Also, are the Cardinals going to go into a season with Colt McCoy and Trace McSorley as their QB1 and QB2? Mayfield would be a clear upgrade, and the offensive system that Kingsbury runs suits Mayfield’s skill set. Throw in the fact that they could probably get the Browns to pay part of Mayfield’s contract to get him out of Cleveland, and it becomes a legitimate plan B.
While as absurd as it may sound to some, it may be the best-case scenario for Arizona if they do not plan to offer Murray a new contract. In an offseason that has been full of curve balls and blindsides, would this really be that surprising?