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Athletics attempting to convince Kyler Murray to forgo NFL draft

Murray won the Heisman trophy just months after being drafted by the A’s.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Another day, another Kyler Murray rumor.

However, today’s piece of news carries more significance than some of the others.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Murray, a star athlete drafted to play baseball with the Oakland Athletics, will have a meeting today with some of the Athletics’ top executives, including executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, to discuss Murray’s future in sports. Mainly, the Athletics executives will try to convince Murray to forgo the upcoming NFL draft.

Murray was selected by the Oakland Athletics ninth overall in the 2018 MLB draft, which came as a bit of a surprise to many who believed Murray could choose football over baseball. It was later rumored that Murray’s contract with the A’s would force him to play baseball if he wanted to receive his full salary. One day after he won the Heisman trophy as the quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Murray was choosing baseball over football. Of course, today’s news suggests that is certainly not the case. At least, not yet.

Timing of today’s news

Today’s report comes just one day before Murray must decide whether or not he will declare for the NFL draft. It’s obviously a huge decision for him to make, with rumors circulating that Murray could get drafted by the Arizona Cardinals, who hold the first overall selection in the draft.

Potential contract details

Baker Mayfield was selected by the Cleveland Browns with the first pick in the 2018 draft, and he received a four-year deal with a total value of $32,682,980, including a $21,849,440 signing bonus. That comes out to just north of $8 million per season, which would likely be similar to the contract that would be given to whoever is drafted first in the next draft, whether it be a quarterback or someone else.

However, a quarterback’s contract usually gets a huge increase when their rookie contract expires. Right now, the average of the 15 highest-paid quarterbacks’ football contracts is nearly $24 million. Meanwhile, the average of the 15 highest-paid outfielders’ baseball contracts is just above $20 million. Obviously, that’s almost a $4 million difference in favor of the quarterback. But money shouldn’t be the only thing Murray considers.

Health and injuries

Playing football is physically more dangerous than playing baseball. Whether you like that or not, it isn’t very debatable. Research from NFL Injury Analytics shows that a football player is more than four times as likely to get hurt than a baseball player: a NFL player has a 7.5% chance of getting injured in a game, while a MLB player has a 1.6% chance. Plus, there has been all of the discussions about concussions in football, with several players having retired early in their career because they have suffered several concussions. In 2017, 291 players suffered diagnosed concussions between pre- and regular-season games and practices.

There were three big findings related to CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in 2017. First, a study showed that CTE was found in greater than 99% of deceased NFL players’ brains that were donated to science: a total of 110 cases of CTE in 111 brains. Later, CNN reported that “attorney Jose Baez told reporters that results from tests performed on the brain of Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end who was convicted in 2015 of murder, showed a ‘severe case’ of CTE.” Finally, researchers said they found the first case of CTE inside of a living person. Dr. Bennet Omalu told CNN that, although he remained unnamed in the study, the subject of the case was former NFL player, Fred McNeill, who died in 2015.

Although we don’t know yet whether Kyler Murray will choose to pursue baseball or football, the Oakland Athletics hope he chooses former. With tomorrow being the deadline for Murray to declare for the NFL draft, we will learn of his decision soon enough.