The Under-the-Radar Detail about Byron Murphy’s New Deal

Should Sign Veteran CB
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The Minnesota Vikings are immersed in Day No. 3 of free agency and kickstarted Days No. 1 and 2 with notable acquisitions Josh Oliver (TE, Ravens), Marcus Davenport (EDGE, Saints), and Byron Murphy (CB, Cardinals).

On Murphy, most fans knew the franchise would invest free-agent dollars or early-round draft capital in a cornerback because of the currently skinny CB room. But the identity of “the guy” was unknown.

The Under-the-Radar Detail about Byron Murphy’s New Deal

Well, he’s Byron Murphy, indeed, and there’s a fascinating nugget about his new two-year, $22 million contract.

detail about byron
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Cardinals reporter Darren Urban explained Wednesday, “So for Murphy, it is essentially a one-year, $12.6M deal that protects the Vikings if his back acts up and puts Murphy in a good place to get a longer, bigger extension if he performs as he expects.”

The major takeaway? It’s a one-year commitment that the 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 iterations of the Vikings front office thoroughly love and crave. Seldom do the Vikings add a big-name free agent for longer than one season, with the exceptions of interior defensive linemen. In that vein, former bossman Rick Spielman and current general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah are kindred souls.

Murphy is merely the latest chapter.

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The former Cardinals defender missed eight games in 2022, evidently enough to make Adofo-Mensah and Brian Flores tread cautiously. Back injuries are never fun for anybody and are often considered the diciest to circumvent.

Murphy is young, however, and the 2022 injury shouldn’t be considered a ginormous risk. But the bet is hedged nevertheless. And that’s important for the Vikings because of their other cornerbacks.

Grim Injury News for Vikings CB
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Andrew Booth and Akayleb Evans were rookies in 2022, and Evans especially displayed promise when on the field. But he was beset by multiple concussions — also a scary injury — while Booth battled the injury bug from the draft onward. One or both could break out this summer, autumn, and winter, and if they do, well, the Flores defense will be in good shape for 2023 and beyond.

Booth and Evans just can’t be trusted as standalone solutions as CB1s or CB2s for a team with Super Bowl aspirations [for about the eighth straight year].

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Should Murphy perform at a commendable or even Pro Bowl level — everybody wins. Himself, Brian Flores, the Vikings, the team’s fans, and his agent. He could potentially cash in one year from now on a larger and lengthier deal at age 26. If he does not excel or falls victim to the back malady, the Vikings are close to “off the hook” after one year.

Call it adept general management.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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