No one has more buzz around the NFL right now than Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, who managed to capture roughly 90 percent of the headlines coming out of the combine. Even with a group of athletic freaks creating all kinds of buzz, Murray's still the top story because no one knows what the Cardinals are doing with the top overall pick and how they will handle the quarterback position moving forward.
To be sure, though, the noise around Murray going to Arizona first overall has only increased coming out of the weekend.
According to Kim Jones of the NFL Network over the weekend, it is "almost universally" believed that Murray is going with the top pick to Arizona.
"Now, in terms of Murray, people are beginning to believe, almost universally, he will be the No. 1 pick in this draft by the Arizona Cardinals," Jones reported. "In fact, teams picking in the top 10 believe they'll have no chance of selecting Murray."
Is that a strong report? It certainly is. However, "almost universally" sounds a lot stronger than it actually is. What's the pool of people being discussed here? Universally is strong, but almost universally is just a vague description of a partial universe. This is not me doubting Jones' reporting, but there are qualifiers within what sounds like a strong commentary on the situation.
Arizona Cardinals PR man Mark Dalton also splashed a little cold water on the report, noting that this is not the first time someone has been certain about what would happen with the Cardinals in an offseason.
There's also competing information coming out of the same broadcast that Jones reported on. NFL Network host Rich Eisen pointed out Monday he's been hearing Arizona "has communicated that they're staying pat" when it comes to their quarterback situation.
That would mean holding tight with Rosen and either trading down or just drafting someone like Nick Bosa.
But there's plenty of other conflicting information out there. 'Tis the season of misinformation after all. Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com reports Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury was telling people at the combine that "it's a done deal" the Cardinals are going to land Murray.
Of course, this requires a qualifier too: Pauline notes that "whether or not Kingsbury has the final say on the choice remains to be seen." Uh, spoiler alert, but Kingsbury does not have final say on the top pick. That belongs to GM Steve Keim, who will ultimately make the decision on who the Cardinals take with the No. 1 pick.
The problem for Keim is how do they handle moving on from Josh Rosen? Keim and Kingsbury, if they want to get another first-round quarterback for the second straight year, need to convince Cardinals president/CEO/owner Michael Bidwell that Kyler is indeed the guy moving forward.
And then the Cardinals have to figure out what they can get in a possible trade for Rosen. And, as Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports and I discussed on Twitter, they have to basically do both of those things at the same time. Arizona's management can't go to ownership and suggest trading Rosen without a decent offer in hand from some other team. But you can't formally engage teams in a possible Rosen trade without having meetings with ownership, because that chatter could get back to your boss. Not exactly easy.
I whipped up Redskins for the No. 15 overall pick. That's a dream scenario for the Cards if they do indeed want Murray.going to the
But according to Peter King of NBC Sports on Monday, it's entirely possible that the Cardinals will face a nightmare trying to deal Rosen. One GM told King that the best the Cardinals could do is "probably a three" for Rosen and that his value is "not what the Cardinals would think his value is."
If Arizona is dead set on taking Murray No. 1, they might very well have to take whatever is out there for Rosen and it might not be a first-round pick. There is always the "Brees Option" though: as Jason Fitzgerald explains on OverTheCap.com, the Cardinals could conceivably draft Murray AND keep Rosen and it might actually be the most prudent move if they don't have great offers on the table.
There's also a second team that could come into play for Murray with the top pick: the Oakland Raiders. King also wrote that Jon Gruden "loves Murray" and with everything the Raiders have in this draft from an asset perspective, the Raiders bear watching. King went even further when joining "The Dan Patrick Show" on Monday morning, saying that Gruden is "very interested" in trying to land Murray.
If the Cardinals feel like they can't get enough for Rosen in a trade, they could simply trade down, keep Rosen and try to acquire more assets. It's not hard to imagine some kind of deal where the Cards and Raiders swap No. 1 and No. 4 with Oakland giving Arizona a bunch of picks to make the move. Giving up No. 4, No. 27 and a fourth-round pick or something would probably come close to getting it done. Remember, Gruden and Keim worked together last year in order to make a trade that let Arizona move up to grab Rosen.
Look, the bottom line is no one knows what's going to happen in the 2019 NFL Draft as of Monday, March 4, 2019. We're 50+ days away from the actual draft proceedings and it wouldn't be surprising at all if the Cardinals changed direction multiple times. Smokescreens are gonna plume and rumors are going to percolate. The less anyone knows and the more everyone talks the better it is for the team with the top pick. Once everyone knows what Arizona wants to do, the leverage they have at the top disappears.