Former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray announced his big decision on Monday in a simple, elegant tweet.
At 2:23 p.m., OU’s seventh Heisman Trophy posted to Twitter, “I have declared for the NFL Draft.”
Murray’s decision was entirely expected. The Oakland A’s told the San Francisco Chronicle last Thursday that they expected him to do so.
It doesn’t mean Murray is definitely going to play pro football. It just keeps that window open. The formality of the announcement does end any notion of Murray returning to play his senior year at OU.
Other than that, Monday’s declaration gives Murray additional bargaining power with the A’s, who drafted him with the ninth overall pick last summer and gave him a $4.66 million signing bonus.
Murray reportedly already has received $1.5 million of that bonus, and supposedly would have to pay it all back if he does decide.
The A’s and Major League Baseball made a strong push over the weekend, meeting with him in Dallas to explore his future with the team, his $4.66 million contract, his potential with the NFL, and his eventual earning opportunities.
Reports Sunday ranged from Murray demanding an additional $15 million to remain with the club (WFAA-TV’s Mike Leslie) to Murray not demanding anything financially (San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser) to Murray negotiating a Major League contract for more money and a spot on the team’s 40-man roster (ESPN’s Jeff Passan).
Spring training begins Feb. 15. The NFL Scouting Combine begins Feb. 26. Murray most likely will have to choose one or the other, but he’s the kind of talent — on the field and in the marketplace — that could experience some level of success at both.
The negotiations over the next 30 days should be fun.
Murray’s original baseball deal as the A’s No. 9 overall pick was a standard minor league contract with a hefty signing bonus and an immediate future of long bus rides between minor league outposts. But it did allow him to play a season of college football, and he proved to himself and everyone else that he was the best college football player in America.
Upgrading that contract would be rare and would require the approval of the MLB office itself, though Passan was right when he tweeted that Murray — the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner and multiple record-setter during his short time at OU — represents a special talent who is worthy of exceptions to almost any rule.
Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “The Franchise Drive” every weeknight from 6-8 on The Franchise in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and appears throughout the day on other shows on The Franchise. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Hoover also covers the Big 12 for Sporting News and Lindy’s magazine and is a feature writer for Sooner Spectator magazine. Visit his personal page at johnehoover.com.