The Heisman Trophy victor has been pushed toward football after an incredible junior season in which he threw for 4,361 passing yards and 42 touchdowns for Oklahoma.
"This guy is fun to watch play football", said Billy Beane, the A's executive vice president of business operations, of Oklahoma's two-sport sensation.
Outfielder/quarterback Kyler Murray, this year's Heisman Trophy victor but also the No. 9 overall pick by the Athletics in the 2018 MLB draft, announced today that he will pursue a career in football rather than baseball (Twitter link).
The Athletics will not receive a compensation draft pick for losing Murray to the National Football League but will retain his rights if he chooses to return to baseball in the future. He is expected to be an early draft pick in this year's NFL Draft.
The NFL draft begins on April 25. The decision came less than a year after the Oakland A's selected Murray with the ninth overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft. If he's selected anywhere in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, he can expect to earn more than twice what he'd have earned with the Athletics' signing bonus; last year's No. 32 overall pick, Lamar Jackson, signed for almost $9.5MM and will earn the entirety of that sum.
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray holds the Heisman Trophy after winning the award Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in NY.
Murray is a rare type of playmaker and I wrote an entire column on how he is one of the players uniquely qualified to help the Broncos potentially beat Patrick Mahomes in the AFC West going forward. What kind of draft class could they form around him?
Murray is coming off a standout football season with the Oklahoma Sooners. Although the A's were hoping he'd choose baseball, they were increasingly pessimistic the longer his locker in their spring-training clubhouse sat empty. Still Forst said, "We'll focus on what we need to do to make sure that if he comes back to baseball at some point, he comes back with the A's". Murray picking football over baseball is no surprise at all; for MLB, that may be the worst part of it all.