The news that Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Kyler Murray has decided to play pro football instead of pro baseball is surprisingly, to say the least. We think Murray will end up regretting his decision, and here are the three main reasons why.
First, the money. Baseball players make more money than football players, primarily because the season is longer—but also because Major League Baseball does not have an official salary cap. The highest-paid player in the NFL makes $33.5M/year, and he’s an MVP QB and Super Bowl winner. The highest-paid player in MLB makes $34M/year, and he’s a multiple-time Cy Young winner.
But the average NFL player makes just $2.1M/year, while the average MLB player makes $4.1M/year. Think about those numbers for a moment. Murray may get a huge contract as a Top-10 draft pick, but if he doesn’t perform, his ceiling for earnings is way lower in football than in baseball. Because of his size, there is no guarantee Murray will succeed.
Second, the physical toll. Football is a brutal sport which sees QBs get injured a lot, and sometimes, those injuries end careers. For every Tom Brady playing into his 40s, there are a dozen QBs that never last long in the NFL. In fact, the average career in the NFL lasts just 3.3 seasons, while the average MLB player makes it close to six years in the majors.
Of course, there’s no guarantee Murray would even reach the majors in baseball, as many Top-10 picks in MLB never make it to the Show. Yet generally, MLB players make twice as much money, and their careers last twice as long.
Finally, the long-term health realities. The NFL does not have a good track record here, whether it is because of concussions or other serious injuries that happen with much more frequently in the violent, contact sport than they do on the baseball diamond. Does Murray want to be walking normally still at age 45 or age 50? Evidently not. Remember, it was football that permanently messed up Bo Jackson and his insane athleticism.
Maybe Kyler Murray can replicate the NFL success of Russell Wilson. Maybe he ends up like Robert Griffin III. No one knows, but we think he really screwed up. Only time will tell if we are right or wrong.