Kyler Murray’s $150 Million Bump: The Math Behind Choosing NFL Over MLB

Kyler Murray’s $150 Million Bump: The Math Behind Choosing NFL Over MLB article feature image

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kyler Murray

  • Kyler Murray said he's fully committed to playing in the NFL, leaving his $4.66 million signing bonus from MLB's Oakland Athletics on the table.
  • Darren Rovell runs through the math behind his decision and why Murray stands to make way more in the NFL over the next decade.

Kyler Murray made the right decision when he picked football over baseball on Monday.

At least, financially speaking.

We modeled out his first 10 years as a pro, assuming he would be a great baseball player and a great football player and estimated that Murray would make $150 million more in his first decade as a football player.

Yes, there are a lot of assumptions being made, but if Murray’s team modeled it out, the math would look like this…

Kyler Murray MLB Career: Potential Earnings

In baseball, he gets his $4.66 million that the A’s agreed to pay him as part of him being drafted.

Next, we’re going to assume he stays in the minors for two-and-half seasons.

Pay for the entirety of those two-and-a-half seasons? $25,850 total! (This assumes a half-season in Class A and a full season of both Double-A and Triple-A.)

After that, a half-season in the majors pays Murray about $135,000.

So, as a baseball player, his total pay through 2021 would only be $4.82 million.

Assuming all goes well, he plays his first full season in 2022 and would be eligible for arbitration after his third full year, where we’ll say he’ll make $20 million guaranteed for the next three seasons.

So, for the first 10 years, as a baseball player, Murray makes $67.33 million.

The Math

  • Signing: $4.66 million
  • 2019-2021: $160,850
  • 2022: $600,000 (rough minimum MLB salary)
  • 2023-2025: $1.91 million
  • 2026-2028: $60 million
  • Total: $67.33 million

Kyler Murray NFL Career: Potential Earnings

Football is a whole lot easier to calculate.

Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

We’re going to say Murray gets drafted as the No. 7 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and gets a guaranteed $23 million on a four-year deal though 2022.

Per the CBA, his team could pick up his fifth-year option, which would be equal to the transition tender for a QB. This offseason, that pays $20.922 million. Factoring in inflation and a new CBA with greater revenues, let’s say it’s now worth roughly $25 million for Murray in the 2023 season.

Then comes free agency — or, at the very least, the threat of free agency, which would cause Murray’s team to present a sizable offer to keep him in town.

A top 10 quarterback today earns an average of $27 million in compensation. I’d estimate that ends up being closer to $33 million by the 2024 offseason, when Murray would be eligible to hit free agency.

So we’ll give Murray an average of $33 million a year over the next three years and $35 million in the final two years. That’s not guaranteed, but we’ll assume he plays those years and makes that money.

The Math

  • Rookie deal: $23 million
  • Fifth-year option: $25 million
  • Second contract: $169 million
  • Total: $217 million

Yeah it’s funny money, but Murray could easily be a top-10 quarterback, and if he is, he’d stand to make nearly $150,000,000 MORE in the NFL than he would as a baseball player.

While it’s true that Murray could make astronomical money in his second decade of playing baseball, it’s a whole lot harder to make assumptions on the second half of his career than it is the first.

That’s why the safe play, if it’s all about money, is the NFL.

How would you rate this article?