Before he became the starting quarterback for national championship contending University of Oklahoma football team, the latest leader of yet another prolific Lincoln Riley offense, the second straight Sooner signal caller to win the Heisman Trophy; the award given to the most electric player in all of college football, Kyler Cole Murray was already a millionaire.
Murray was drafted by the Oakland Athletics with the ninth overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft and was given a $4.66 million bonus last summer, but he opted to play out his last year of college football since his predecessor Baker Mayfield had moved on to the NFL and was drafted number one overall by the Cleveland Browns.
Even though they had both been selected in the top 10 of their respective drafts, Murray was now presented with the opportunity to take over as the starting quarterback for the Sooners and perhaps succeed where Mayfield had failed and deliver the University of Oklahoma it’s first national championship since 2003.
He was not only presented with the opportunity to contend for a national title and the Heisman, but also put on a show for executives and scouts in professional football front offices so that at the conclusion of his final college football season, he’d be viewed as perhaps a first round talent for the 2019 NFL draft as well.
While there have been many players that have played both sports professionally and split time between the diamond and the gridiron some notables being the great Dion Sanders and Bo Jackson who were both top five picks in their respective draft classes into the NFL, but neither were first round picks in the MLB.
There have even been some professional quarterbacks in recent years that have had success in the NFL but also had a choice to pursue professional careers such as the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson (Colorado Rockies), free agent Colin Kaepernick (Chicago Cubs) and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes II (Detroit Tigers).
As the Jan. 14 deadlines for eligible college players to declare for the NFL draft drew closer, Murray requested $15 million from the A’s in order for him to not exercise his right to go the NFL route.
Even though the MLB granted the organization permission to offer him a fully guaranteed contract, they were not willing to meet Murray’s request prior to the deadline. They called his bluff and he stood his ground, betting on himself and his ability to receive big money from playing in the NFL.
There are many draft experts that believe that Murray is worthy of a first-round pick despite his lack of prototypical measurables, but they question his commitment to football with baseball still waiting in the wings.
His former head coach at Texas Tech (now head coach of the Arizona Cardinals) Kliff Kingsbury said back in October that he would draft him number one overall in the NFL draft if he could.
Kingsbury is now the head coach of the team that holds the first overall pick in the 2019 draft, and even though the organization traded up in last year’s draft to select UCLA’s Josh Rosen to be the future of the franchise, there are rumors that Kingsbury would want to trade Rosen for a high profiled player asset or high draft pick compensation so that Kingsbury can select the quarterback of his dreams and build the team around him.
The draft will be held in Nashville, Tenn. from April 25th-27th and Murray fully intends to go through the pre-draft process and impress NFL general managers with his private interviews and workouts to raise his draft stock and perhaps become the first athlete ever to get drafted in the first round of two different professional sports leagues.