Putting aside all of the utterly babyish, unprofessional “nonsense” that Kyler Murray and Erik Burkhardt have created this off-season, the possibility of the Cardinals electing to sign Kyler to a lucrative contract extension should have been dashed when he refused to walk out with his teammates out for the last two snaps of Cardinals’ embarrassing playoff loss to the Rams.
Not sure if anything happened in the locker room after the game, but if I was Kyler’s teammate, he would have gotten an vociferous earful from me.
Kyler’s decision to sit out those final snaps of the season is the epitome of what is wrong with him, because it reinforces all of the conjecture that he is self-centered and immature.
Any player or coach will tell you that walking away from your teammates is the worst thing you can do.
That is the kind of selfish action that divides locker rooms and destroys team morale.
Colt McCoy understands that.
McCoy, Kyler’s mentor, implored Kyler to finish out the game.
But, therein lies other glaring question marks about Kyler —- is it in his capacity to listen?
Can Kyler handle adversity?
Can he be a bona fide leader of men?
For those of you who may still be thinking that Kyler’s refusal to play out the game is really not that big of a deal —- there are contexts here that make Kyler’s refusal even more outrageous.
How about J.J. Watt?
J.J. Watt did everything humanly possible to play in the Cardinals playoff game. He played in that game with a freshly reconstructed shoulder and recently healed scars. Just imagine how scary that was, even for Captain America. And yet J.J. Watt, as always, played his ass off.
For any Cardinal to walk away from his teammates in this game after what J.J. Watt did for the good of the team is more embarrassing than the final score.
And it goes an alarming step further.
How about Budda Baker?
Want to talk about a baller who played his ass off? To watch a beloved teammate like Budda Baker be carted off that field after making a big impact tackle when the game was already well out of reach should have been a supreme motivation for every player on the Cardinals’ roster to finish out the game with ferocious pride.
A motivation made even more imminent by Rams’ running back Cam Akers standing over Budda and taunting him while Budda was lying motionless of the turf.
Kelvin Beachum finished out that game with pride. He let Aaron Donald know that gloating over the win and messing with teammate D.J. Humphries wasn’t going to fly as long as he was on the field.
Kelvin Beachum walked out with his teammates to finish the game.
That’s what leaders do.
The fourth quarter of blowout games like that are the ultimate test of pride.
So, while Budda Baker was being lifted out of an ambulance and rolled into an LA hospital on a gurney, Kyler Murray was on the Cardinals’ sidelines quitting on his teammates.
This is why the absolute worst thing that the Cardinals could do RIGHT NOW is to reward Kyler Murray with a $45+M a year contract extension.
The message that Kyler’s contract extension would send to Kyler’s teammates is that he can do no wrong (and even be rewarded) in the eyes of the owner, the GM and the head coach who have, according to some, rolled out the red carpet for Kyler way too soon.
Kyler needs to mend the fences with his teammates before anyone should even talk about a contract extension. That is not going to happen overnight.
And if Burkhardt’s ultimatum means that Kyler will demand to be traded, well then, we know that Kyler already has one foot out the door, just as he did on the sidelines in LA.
It’s time for Kyler to either start looking his teammates in the eyes like a full-gown man in the spirit of earning their trust —- thus making his teammates his urgent priority—- or it’s time for Kyler to go into full-bore escape mode as he did at Texas A&M and with the Oakland A’s.
There are numerous other reasons why a contract extension for Kyler this year is a poor idea, but, this one reason, more than any other, should close the door on contract talks —- a door that only opens when Kyler has taken full responsibility for his actions and has done everything in his power to prove to his coaches and teammates that he will never quit on them again.