How anticipated is Kyler Murray’s decision to play football or baseball?
So much that Oakland Athletics and Major League Baseball executives weren’t going to wait around to hear the news from home.
Sunday, Murray and agent Scott Boras met in Dallas with A’s officials and an MLB marketing executive, according to multiple reports, as the Monday deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft loomed.
The A’s hope to convince Murray to honor the $4.66 million contract he was awarded after the team picked him ninth overall in the 2018 MLB Draft, instead of the Oklahoma Heisman Trophy quarterback declaring for the NFL Draft and ultimately choosing a football future.
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 over football. He initially signed a minor league deal, meaning MLB would have to approve any changes.
“The notion of a player who has never taken an at-bat in the minor leagues winding up with a big league deal shows how special a situation Kyler Murray’s is,” Passan tweeted Sunday. “It’s not just the Oakland A’s invested in him. It’s Major League Baseball, too. Murray in MLB would be a coup.”
WFAA-TV’s Mike Leslie reported Murray was asking for $15 million guaranteed money to play baseball. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser cited sources who said that figure is too high, but that the A’s and MLB were working on “something creative” to keep Murray in baseball.
The A’s expect Murray to declare for the NFL Draft, Slusser reported last week, but that wouldn’t necessarily mean he will choose the gridiron over the diamond. He is required to report to spring training Feb. 15. The NFL combine is Feb. 26.
Murray, 21, would have to repay his signing bonus if he chose the NFL.
Neither path offers a guarantee. Murray would have to work his way through the baseball minor leagues, or prove that even at 5 foot 9 he could succeed in the NFL as a quarterback. In football, Murray is projected anywhere from a first- to third-round pick.
Murray began the year as an undersized QB without an expected future in pro football, but threw for 4,361 yards and rushed for 1,001, accounting for 54 total touchdowns which helped him claim the Heisman.
He has one season of college eligibility remaining, but multiple reports indicate OU’s coaches don’t expect him to return.