After being drafted into the MLB, Kyler Murray declares for the NFL draft sparking debate over which sport he’ll choose professionally.


In a position many people can only dream of, Kyler Murray must decide between a career in professional baseball or football. On Jan. 14, Murray announced on Twitter that he was declaring for the NFL draft. This created speculation over which sport he should choose, the pros and cons of each league, including which could offer him more money.

Drafted as an outfielder, Murray was the ninth pick in the MLB draft last June by the Oakland Athletics (A’s). Murray ended his final baseball season at the University of Oklahoma ended with 10 home runs and 10 steals in 51 games. He also had  25.1 percent strikeout rate meaning he’d likely be spending a significant amount of time in minor leagues. An report shared that along with a contract, he received a $4.7 million signing bonus and was allowed to return to the Sooners’ football team to play quarterback for the 2018 season.

In retrospect, perhaps that’s where the A’s went wrong. Murray ended his college football career by leading the Sooners to a 12-2 record and landing them a spot in the College Football Playoffs. He ended the season with 4,361 passing yards and 42 touchdowns. Murray topped off his incredible season by winning one of college football’s most coveted awards; the Heisman Trophy.

While analysts don’t predict Murray to go first overall pick in the NFL draft, some believe he could find a team by the end of the draft. After looking at the arguments for and against each league I completely see why Murray would be interested in the NFL. With football, Murray has the potential for a bigger rookie contract, in addition to a quicker path to being a starter and becoming a free agent. The path to free agency is one of the biggest draws for a football career because once his rookie contract expires he could negotiate for bigger contracts. If I was working through this decision with Murray, my push would be for the NFL.

If Murray sticks with baseball, he will have to start in the minors while honing in his skills. According to a Bleacher Report article, this means he’ll be further postponing his MLB debut while making the league minimum of $555,000 until at least 2023 or 2024. He also wouldn’t become a free agent until 2026 or 2027. There was a rumor that Murray met with the A’s saying he will stick with baseball for the price of $15 million. The rumor hasn’t held up as accurate after Susan Slusser from the San Francisco Chronicle reported the meeting related more towards Murray’s potential baseball future. This doesn’t mean Oakland will stop trying to push Murray towards the baseball field, even if it means paying him more. However, a bigger contract would require them to sign Murray to a major league contract right away and place him on their roster.

Looking at how long it could take Murray to even reach the big leagues, I think his best decision is to head to the NFL. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma’s’ previous quarterback and fellow Heisman winner, helps give Murray a gauge what a possible NFL career could look like. Mayfield was the first overall pick in last year’s draft by the Cleveland Browns. According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, Mayfield signed a rookie contract for four years with $32.68 million guaranteed and a $21.85 million signing bonus. Mayfield also became the Brown’s starter after only three weeks. A shorter contract with more money and a greater chance at a starting job is a tough offer to turn down.

One of the biggest arguments against a football future for Murray is the game’s high risk of serious injuries and head trauma. In recent years the NFL has had to address the correlation between its players and serious, brain injuries. The rest of the argument follows the logic that a baseball career would be safer and has the potential to be longer.

To counter that argument, all players are at risk of serious injuries in any sport. In football, as a quarterback, Murray would be at a lesser risk for injury compared to other positions. A study paid by the NFL Foundation and NFL Players Association found both offensive and defensive linemen are at the greatest risk for head trauma. Murray can have a long career in football if he consistently stays healthy and strong enough. Quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Drew Brees for proof for longevity at the position.

In a perfect world, Murray would be able to play in both the MLB and NFL, like legendary athletes Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders but that’s just not a reality in today’s leagues. Fans will find out which sport Murray chooses by Feb. 15 when the A’s spring training begins. If Murray picks football, fans will see him in Indianapolis for the NFL combine on Feb. 26. I think Murray should get ready to head for Indiana.