Baseball money or football money? That is the question.
Compensation surely is another factor Kyler Murray must be wrestling with as he decides whether to play baseball or football professionally.
It might seem trivial -- both will pay him millions! -- but the Heisman Trophy winner assuredly is weighing the compensation structure of both the MLB and the NFL as he decides his future.
Although the two-sport star has declared for the NFL draft, he already has put pen to paper on a $4.66 million signing bonus with the Oakland A’s. Murray reportedly would have to give back most of the money the A's gave him if he were to play professionally in the NFL instead.
Some have argued that the guaranteed money he’s already agreed to with Oakland would be enough to convince him to stick with baseball and report to MLB spring training in February as the A’s hope.
However, the Oklahoma QB wouldn’t necessarily lose guaranteed money if he chooses football.
In fact, if Murray believes he’ll be a first-round pick in April’s NFL draft -- and there’s reason to believe he could go as high as No. 1 overall -- Murray would earn more money from his NFL signing bonus than the $4.66 million he’s assured with the A’s.
Per Spotrac, first-round picks in the 2018 NFL draft received signing bonuses ranging from $4.97 million (No. 32 pick Lamar Jackson) to $21.85 million (No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield).
So even if Murray was the last pick in the first round, he actually would bank more guaranteed money than he currently has with the A’s.
When considering his future earning potential, that’s when it gets tricky. If Murray turns into a star quarterback, or even a serviceable one, he’ll be heavily compensated for the rest of his career (see: Bay Area quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Derek Carr, who both signed contracts worth more than $70 million in guaranteed money, per Spotrac).
But since NFL contracts aren’t fully guaranteed, Murray could risk leaving lots of cash on the table if he were to be seriously injured or if he didn’t perform up to expectations.
Conversely, if Murray decides to stick with baseball, he keeps the $4.66 million up front … but then has to wait until he makes the major leagues to make more significant money.
Once Murray makes the majors, he then would have to wait another six-plus years to hit free agency before a monster eight- or nine-figure contract could be waiting for him.
So while Murray’s signing bonuses in both sports could be similar, the risk/reward for his future earning potential surely will factor into his decision.
Does Murray see the green dollar signs of guaranteed contracts in baseball, knowing he’d have to wait years to see most of the cash as he first pays his dues as a minor leaguer?
Or does he choose the instant fame of being an NFL quarterback, knowing he’ll be more susceptible to injury and the risks that come with non-guaranteed money?
That must be one hefty pro/con list ...