Josh Allen's massive contract extension will have a trickle-down effect on other quarterbacks in line to be paid. Not only will Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield use Allen's contract to help form their new deals, but future signal-callers could also look at the path of the Buffalo Bills QB as the route to a big payday.
Allen exploded last season, finishing second in MVP voting, proving that the Bills' patience was warranted. His ability to rifle the ball into tight spaces and do damage with his legs helped lead Buffalo to a deep postseason run. After two so-so years with Allen under center, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll formulated the offense to enhance the young QB's skills. Allen took advantage and rocketed into the top five signal-caller rankings.
The Arizona Cardinals hope Kyler Murray follows a similar path.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury said when Murray is eligible for an extension next year, he hopes Arizona is in a similar situation to where Buffalo sat this offseason because it will mean Murray is coming off an MVP-caliber campaign.
"I hope we get the opportunity to do that because that means he'll have a phenomenal year just like Josh did last year and emerges as one of the top players in the league," Kingsbury said over the weekend, via Cards Wire. "At that position, you're willing to do whatever you can to keep that."
Murray becomes eligible for a contract next offseason. The summer before Year 4 is when we see many franchise signal-callers -- like Allen -- ink their first big extensions. It's also possible that the Cardinals, with Murray under contract through 2023 plus the franchise tag at their disposal afterward, could decide to kick the can depending on the type of progress the young QB shows.
Entering his third season, Murray is ahead of where Allen was going into Year 3, but not by a ton. There is room for the Cards QB to grow, coming off a 3,971-yard, 26 TD season in which he improved his completion percentage to 67.2. Murray is dangerous with his legs as well, scampering for 819 yards and another 11 scores.
Injury questions will be key for Murray. Unlike Allen, Murray is more slightly built, and the punishment he absorbed last year took a toll. His production dipped last season after suffering a shoulder tweak. Even though he didn't miss a game, the injury played a role in the Cards missing the playoffs.
Murray's play through two years has been stellar for a young QB entering the league on a team that won three games the year before he arrived. Now he's teetering in the middle-ground. He could blow up, like Allen, and put his name among the best at the position. Or he could show his passing ceiling is capped and settle into a middle tier.
Kingsbury needs Murray to follow Allen and explode in 2021.
After two seasons, the Cards' offense under the former Texas Tech coach has been middling. One of the biggest factors in Josh Allen's massive leap was Daboll's offense accentuating what the QB does well. Will Kingsbury follow suit and tweak his offense to help Murray make that leap, or will he continue down the same path and hope the QB will take flight on his own?
It's a big year in Arizona in many ways. The futures of the coach and GM sit in the balance for a team that went all-in on 2021. That includes whether Murray gets a massive payday next offseason or it gets pushed down the road.