Kyler Murray shed light on his athletic career moving forward with just one sentence Monday.
“I have declared for the NFL Draft,” Murray wrote on Twitter, about nine and a half hours before the required deadline.
Murray’s announcement was an expected one and doesn’t cement his future in professional football or baseball, but does rule him out from returning to play at Oklahoma where he won the Heisman Trophy last fall.
He could still choose to play for the Oakland Athletics, who selected him with the ninth pick in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft. The A’s awarded him a $4.66 million contract and met with him Sunday in Dallas to discuss his potential in baseball, according to multiple reports.
The timetable for Murray’s ultimate decision is roughly one month. Position players report to spring training Feb. 15 and the NFL combine is Feb. 26.
But according to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, Murray may have already made up his mind. Schefter reported the two-sport star “has informed the Oakland A’s of his intention to follow his heart to the NFL.”
It may take a lot to keep Murray on the baseball diamond, where he hit .296 and 10 home runs for the Sooners last spring. He stands to make more money early in football if an NFL team selects him in the first round, which some project.
According to Spotrac, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson earned a $4.97 million signing bonus as last season’s No. 32 overall pick; former OU quarterback Baker Mayfield signed a $21.85 signing bonus with the Cleveland Browns as the No. 1 pick.
There is speculation the Arizona Cardinals could select Murray with the 2019 first overall pick, after the team hired former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury for the same position. Months before the hiring, Kingsbury, who has a close relationship with Murray, said he would take the QB No. 1 if given the chance.
“I’ve never seen him have a poor outing, not one, which with quarterbacks it’s impossible to do, but he’s done it. I’d take him with the first pick in the draft if I could. I know he’s signed up to play baseball, but he’s a dominant player and I’d take him with the first pick,” Kingsbury told Texas Tech’s athletic communications staff.
The changing NFL climate could also work against the A’s. Big 12-style offense has infiltrated the league, with former OU quarterback Baker Mayfield and former Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes thriving in their rookie seasons, making now an ideal time for Murray to join the fray, even as an undersized prospect at 5 foot 10.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Oakland is willing to give Murray a major league deal that includes more guaranteed money and a spot on its 40-man roster if he chooses baseball. He initially signed a minor league deal, meaning MLB would have to approve any contract changes; according to the San Francisco Chronicle and ESPN, specific dollar amounts on a potential new deal were not part of Sunday’s discussions.
An MLB marketing executive reportedly joined the A’s during meeting, perhaps promoting other financial avenues, such as endorsements, should Murray pick baseball.
Murray transferred to OU in 2015 after one season at Texas A&M. He sat out in 2016 due to NCAA transfer rules then served as Mayfield’s backup in 2017, before exploding during his redshirt junior season last fall, throwing for 4,361 yards and rushing for 1,001 to go with 54 total touchdowns.