In a move that doesn’t come as a huge surprise, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and 2018 Oakland Athletics draftee Kyler Murray tweeted Monday that he will be focusing his efforts on becoming an NFL QB rather than reporting to spring training with the A’s:
Murray was originally intent on pursuing a professional baseball career, as he signed a deal with a $4.66 million signing bonus after being selected ninth overall by the A’s in last summer’s draft. That was with good reason — he’s 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds and had never been a full-time starter at the college level heading into the 2018 season. Alas, he picked up right where Baker Mayfield left off, winning the Heisman, leading his team to a College Football Playoff appearance, and vaulting himself into consideration to be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft.
Once Murray announced last month that he’d be entering the NFL Draft and attending the scouting combine, it was widely assumed that he’d end up playing football rather than baseball. However, the Athletics had continued to prepare as if he was going to show up for spring training. As of Monday afternoon, he was still listed as a non-roster invitee, wearing No. 73, on their website. They’d reportedly gone so far as to explore the idea of adding him to the 40-man roster in order to guarantee him more money, breaking with the protocol that’s been in place since MLB banned major-league contracts for draft picks in November 2011.
The Athletics will not receive a compensatory selection in this year’s draft since they signed Murray to a contract, but per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, they will get back all but $210,000 of the signing bonus they agreed to give him last summer:
Kyler Murray will return $1.29 million of the $1.5 million signing bonus money the Oakland A’s gave him last year. He forfeits the remaining $3.16 million due March 1. The A’s will put him on the restricted list and retain Murray’s rights, but they don’t get a comp draft pick.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 11, 2019