The Athletics were hit with the news today that top 2018 draft choice Kyler Murray intends to pursue a career in the NFL. While that seemed to all but resolve the question of which sport he’d pursue, the Oakland organization may not be ready to concede the matter.
According to a report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription link), the A’s still intend to engage with Murray’s camp as his NFL draft journey begins. As Rosenthal notes, the club still can beat any offer that a football team makes, at least in theory, by dangling a guaranteed MLB contract on top of the MLB draft bonus money that Murray presently stands to sacrifice.
Though the Heisman Trophy winner is now going to turn his full attention to football, his draft prospects remain up in the air. It’s certainly possible Murray will end up being taken lower than some pundits expect. Regardless where he goes, his earnings will be capped by the NFL draft slotting system, so the Oakland org will at least have a chance to submit a final, higher bid.
Realistically, there’s sure to be a limit as to how much cash the A’s will put up to keep Murray off the gridiron. The team clearly values his future, particularly since there’s no compensation for losing him, but Murray is also a long way from being a big league contributor. There’s risk in any prospect, but he’s seen a particularly boom-or-bust player given his relative lack of polish on the diamond.
It’ll certainly be fascinating, for a variety of reasons, to see how high the Oakland organization will ultimately bid for Murray, if it does indeed attempt to woo him back. Perhaps he won’t even entertain another baseball offer if he receives a good enough opportunity with the right NFL franchise. For the time being, there’s still some uncertainty to the matter — at least, that is, from the A’s perspective.