Report: Athletics expect Kyler Murray to enter NFL draft

Less than two months before what is supposed to be his first Major League Baseball spring training, Kyler Murray is reportedly planning to test the waters of the National Football League.

The Oakland Athletics expect Murray, who they picked ninth overall in the 2018 MLB draft, to declare for the NFL draft on Sunday after a massively successful season with Oklahoma that saw the 21-year-old quarterback win the Heisman Trophy, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

This decision is just the latest wrinkle in the saga of Murray’s multi-million dollar decision between staying with the A’s or attempting to pursue a career in the NFL, a choice in which Murray is leaning football per a source of the Chronicle.

What does Kyler Murray entering the NFL draft mean?

Right now, it doesn’t mean much. The A’s would certainly have been happy if he didn’t declare, as that would mean firmly picking baseball over football, but doing so simply keeps Murray’s options open for now.

However, the move does represent another step toward the Athletics’ nightmare scenario: Murray walking away from the $4.66 million contract they signed him to as a first-round pick.

25 PHOTOS
2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray
See Gallery
2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray
Texas A&M quarterback Kyler Murray (1) warms up before an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/George Bridges)
Texas A&M quarterback Kyler Murray warms up before an NCAA college football game against Nevada Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Texas A&M quarterback Kyler Murray (1) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Texas A&M’s quarterback Kyler Murray (1) on the field practice before the start of an NCAA college football game between Texas A&M and Western Carolina Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M defeated Western Carolina 41-17. (AP Photo/Juan DeLeon)
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray during the annual Oklahoma NCAA college spring football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, April 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) carries against UTEP in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla. For Lincoln Riley’s second season as head coach at Oklahoma, the Sooners have to find Heisman winner Baker Mayfield’s successor. So a big part of the coach’s first spring was determining the new starter, a process between last year’s backup Kyler Murray and redshirt Austin Kendall that continue into the summer and preseason.(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Oakland Athletics draft pick Kyler Murray waits to hit during batting practice before a baseball game between the Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels in Oakland, Calif., Friday, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray talks with the media following an NCAA college football media day in Norman, Okla., Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida Atlantic in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2018, file photo, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws during an NCAA college football game between UCLA and Oklahoma in Norman, Okla. Oklahoma's Kyler Murray, West Virginia's Will Grier, Iowa State's Brock Purdy and Sam Ehlinger of Texas have been impressive and could determine which teams makes it to the Dec. 1 title game in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) and Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (2) celebrate during an NCAA college football game between Army and Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) scrambles against Texas during the first half of an NCAA college football game at the Cotton Bowl, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Cooper Neill)
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury talks to Oklahoma's Kyler Murray (1) after an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson)
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) walks off the field following a game against Oklahoma State in an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. Oklahoma won 48-47. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) gestures to his team during a play against Kansas during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. Oklahoma won 55-40. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs for a touchdown ahead of Kansas defenders during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. Oklahoma won 55-40. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) celebrates on the sidelines after throwing a touchdown against Oklahoma during the second half of the Big 12 Conference championship NCAA college football game on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. Oklahoma won 39-27. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass to tight end Grant Calcaterra at the end of the first half of the Big 12 Conference championship NCAA college football game against Texas on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray (center left) is interviewed by ESPN reporter Holly Rowe (left) after receiving the MVP award while head coach Lincoln Riley (right) and Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby (center right) look on after the NCAA Big 12 Conference football championship between the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. Oklahoma defeated Texas 39-27. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2018, file photo, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray hoists the Most Outstanding Player trophy after beating Texas 39-27 in the Big 12 Conference championship NCAA college football game, in Arlington, Texas. Murray was named The Associated Press college football Player of the Year, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter, File)
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray holds the Heisman Trophy after winning the award Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray speaks during an NCAA college football media day on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Alabama plays Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 29. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks up, during the first half of the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game against Alabama, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 29: Kyler Murray #1 of the Oklahoma Sooners walks off the field during the College Football Playoff Semifinal game at the Capital One Orange Bowl on December 29, 2018 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Credit: mpi04/MediaPunch /IPX
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 29: Kyler Murray #1 of the Oklahoma Sooners reacts after losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Decision time might come earlier than expected for Murray. The A’s are scheduled to have position players report to big league spring training in Arizona on Feb. 15, something Murray might want to participate in if he’s interested in a professional baseball career. Less than two weeks later, the NFL scouting combine will begin on Feb. 26 in Indianapolis.

According to the Chronicle, the Athletics might consider allowing Murray to attend the combine, which would reportedly require the permission of MLB and directly interfere with Murray’s prep for the 2019 baseball season.

If Murray really wants to pursue an NFL career and be drafted high enough that it makes financial sense to walk away from the millions of dollars he received from the A’s, he will likely need to attend the combine to show NFL teams he’s serious about committing to football. Otherwise, teams likely aren’t going to spend a first or second-round draft pick on a player that could bolt for MLB if his football career doesn’t go as planned.

The NFL draft is scheduled to begin on April 25, well after the beginning of the minor-league season. There is little chance that Murray will know his NFL team by the time he has to make a final decision, and there is absolutely no chance of him playing both sports professionally at the same time.

What happens if Kyler Murray sticks with football?

If Murray does decide to skip A’s spring training, commit to NFL draft prep and sign with an NFL team, that would likely mean the end of Murray’s MLB career for now.

As far as the A’s are concerned, they would still hold Murray’s rights if he decided to return to baseball. They would also likely be able to recoup the $4.66 million signing bonus they gave to Murray. The larger cost would be the team completely whiffing on a top-10 draft pick.

When MLB teams fail to sign a draft pick, they typically receive a compensatory draft pick at the same position in the following draft. But Murray did sign, so the A’s wouldn’t receive that compensation while being stuck with a prospect that no longer plays baseball.

Kyler Murray’s decision: baseball or football?

It was well-known that Murray would play football at Oklahoma while the A’s awaited the end of his football career, but no one really thought Murray would play as well as he did this season.

Playing as the clear No. 1 quarterback for the first time in his college football career, Murray exploded for 4,361 passing yards and 42 passing touchdowns as well as 1,001 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. That performance earned him the hallowed Heisman Trophy and powered Oklahoma to a Big 12 championship and a College Football Playoff berth.

Despite all that success, Murray’s football future is still questionable. He’s undersized as far as the NFL goes, generously listed at 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds, and not widely expected to be a first-round pick this year. On the other hand, he’d be among the most athletic players in baseball and in line for MLB’s famously juicy contracts if his career panned out, but that is by no means a guarantee.

Both Murray and his baseball agent, Scott Boras, have been mostly firm in his commitment to the Athletics, at least publicly, but Murray has dropped plenty of hints recently that it would be hard for him to close the door on football. He has suggested he wants to play both, but that is basically impossible between the grind of ascending through the minor leagues and the demands of learning how to be an NFL quarterback.

More from Yahoo Sports:
Cowboys owner spends more for yacht than he did for team
Florida man arrested after late superfan’s family threatened
Driver in hockey tragedy pleads guilty
Cardinals’ hiring move: ‘What is pro football coming to?’

Read Full Story