The Cardinals hoped to prove themselves offensively Monday night against the Patriots, who boast one of the NFL's stingiest defenses under Bill Belichick. Just three plays into the prime-time matchup, however, Arizona lost its quarterback, Kyler Murray, to a non-contact knee injury. The former No. 1 overall draft pick scrambled on the Cardinals' first drive of the game, only to have his right knee seemingly buckle on the way to the turf. He was carted to the locker room and replaced by veteran backup Colt McCoy. Following an MRI on Tuesday, it's official: Murray has suffered a torn ACL, ending his season, CBS Sports' Lead NFL Insider Jonathan Jones confirms.
The Cardinals initially ruled Murray questionable to return, though the QB looked dispirited as he was carted off, covering his head with a towel as teammates consoled him. McCoy, who fumbled on his first series taking over under center against New England, previously started two games in place of Murray this year, going 1-1 while the latter recovered from a hamstring injury. Early in the second quarter, the Cardinals officially ruled Murray out, leaving McCoy to fill in for the remainder of the contest.
"Obviously it didn't look good," coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters after the game. "I've never seen (Murray) in that type of shape, so I assumed it wasn't good."
The torn ACL will sideline Arizona's face-of-the-franchise for the remainder of 2022 and potentially part of the 2023 campaign considering such damage typically requires nine to 12 months of rehabilitation. Murray has battled injuries in each of his four NFL seasons since entering in 2019, sitting out three games in 2021 due to ankle issues. An ACL tear represents the most significant medical blow of his career and could prompt Arizona to rely on McCoy, or another veteran replacement, into next season.
Murray, 25, just this offseason signed a five-year, $230.5 million contract extension that ties him to Arizona through 2028. He has also endured controversy for much of the year, notably feuding with Cardinals brass before signing his new deal, publicly lambasting reporters over coverage of contingencies in his contract, criticizing head coach Kliff Kingsbury's offensive scheme, and drawing outside criticism for his leadership during the team's 4-9 start.