The Oakland Athletics expect Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Kyler Murray to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft on Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.
The decision to declare wouldn’t necessarily hurt Murray’s prospects with the A’s, with whom the outfielder agreed to a $4.66 million deal after being selected ninth overall in June’s first-year player draft.
And if Murray does declare for the draft, it does not automatically void his contract with the A’s, according to the Chronicle. In fact, a source told the paper that “Murray declaring for the draft is not considered to be contractually significant.”
The more important deadline could be when the A’s position players report for spring training Feb. 15. If Murray declares for the NFL draft, he would likely need to attend the NFL combine in late February to maximize his chances of getting taken early.
Multiple outlets have reported that Murray could go in the first round of the NFL draft if he declares, or very likely by the end of Round 2.
The Oklahoma star had been steadfast about his intentions to choose baseball over football and begin his career with the Athletics after this college season, but he was noncommittal on the subject in December, and signs have suggested he could choose the NFL.
The Sooners submitted Murray’s name with other underclassmen to the NFL College Advisory Committee, which helps players determine when they might be drafted to help make decisions about leaving school early. Murray’s baseball agent, Scott Boras, softened his tone in December and said Murray’s plans could change, after Boras previously had sounded resolute that Murray would play baseball.
On Wednesday, Boras reiterated to ESPN that Murray “has a baseball contract.”
Murray threw for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns in leading the Sooners to the national championship semifinals, where they lost to then-No. 1 Alabama 45-34 in the Orange Bowl. He passed for 308 yards and two touchdowns in that game.
Players intending to declare early for the NFL draft have until next Monday to file declaration papers with the league.