Around the NFL: Welcome to Speculation Season, Kyler's Future, Raiders Back Carr, Thomas, Ridley, More

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Around the NFL: Welcome to Speculation Season, Kyler’s Future, Raiders Back Carr, Thomas, Ridley, More

Chicago Bears

The Super Bowl is in the books, and the season is over, so we’re onto the next phase of the NFL cycle; speculation season. We’ve got a month before the new league year when NFL players on expiring contracts hit free agency, so prepare yourself for the constant speculation between now and then. Let’s start with one of the game’s best signal-callers scrubbing his social media as he begins the positioning for a new deal in the desert.

Kyler Murray’s Social Media Scrub

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has done the social media scrub that players do these days to send a message, wiping all of his content essentially on Instagram, including his affiliation with the Cardinals. On Sunday, veteran NFL reporter Chris Mortensen reported that the “vibe” between Murray and the Cardinals is alarming. Mortensen said that Murray is described as self-centered, immature, frustrated, and embarrassed by the Cardinals’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the opening round of the NFL playoffs. According to Mortensen, Murray feels like he’s being made out to be the scapegoat for Arizona’s late-season skid.

Murray, 24, is entering the fourth year of his rookie deal with Arizona and is set to make $11.3 million from his salary, signing bonus, and roster bonus in 2022. The Cardinals have until May second to decide whether or not they want to exercise the former Oklahoma Sooner’s fifth-year option or begin to work on a new deal for Murray in the form of an extension, the likely preferred method for Murray.

Murray has compiled a 22-23-1 record while completing just under 67% of his attempts for 11,480 yards and a 70-34 TD-INT ratio. Murray has also added 1,786 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground in his three seasons with the Cardinals. Murray took to Twitter on Monday afternoon to attempt to clear up the confusion of his original social media scrubbing by posting a photo of himself in his Arizona Cardinals digs accompanied by a brief and vague statement about his commitment to getting better and winning championships.

Although he didn’t say who he wanted to win championships with, there’s that. It’s doubtful at this point that this situation ends with Kyler leaving Arizona this offseason, so while it’s fun to speculate, it’s more than likely much to do about nothing.

Derek Carr Extension

Every offseason in recent memory has featured discussions regarding the future of Derek Carr in Las Vegas (and formerly Oakland), but this year, that narrative is one we won’t have to concern ourselves with. Ian Rapoport reported on Sunday that the Raiders are ready to commit to Derek Carr long-term and are planning on working out an extension for the veteran quarterback who finally has the backing of his coaching staff and front office.

Rapoport reported that Josh McDaniels was Derek Carr’s top choice for the Raiders vacant head coaching gig, so Carr got his wish in more ways than one. Not only did he get McDaniels as his new field boss, but he also gets a head coach and GM that have long been a fan of his and are ready to provide him with something that John Gruden was never willing to do, a clear vote of confidence.

In previous years Gruden was always non-committal on the Raiders’ quarterback situation, but Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels have their guy under center in Las Vegas, according to Ian Rapoport.  So, you can remove Carr’s name from the list of quarterbacks seemingly on the trading block this spring/summer.

Kirk Cousins’ Future in Minnesota

Kirk Cousins’s lack of big game victories and playoff success has turned him into somewhat of a meme in the football world, but it seems (at least for now) that the Vikings will be sticking with Cousins under center in 2022. Tom Pelissero cites the link between Cousins and new Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell’s past work together in Washington as a reason to believe that there won’t be any change at the QB position in Minnesota next season.

But, as Pelissero points out, Minnesota will need to address Cousins’ contract. After signing a three-year, $84 million deal with Minnesota during the 2018 offseason, Cousins inked a two-year, $66 million extension with Minnesota in 2020. Cousins’ cap number this season will be $45,166,668, and cutting him would move that number to dead money, removing that option from the scenario. Trading him is likely out of the question as well. No one is taking on a $45 million cap hit for Kirk Cousins.

So, Cousins will, in all likelihood, be under center in Minnesota in 2022, whether Kevin O’Connell shares Cousins sentiment or not.

Extra Points …

•   Michael Thomas seems to be ready to continue playing, and it appears it will be for the New Orleans Saints. Ian Rapoport says that Thomas is back in New Orleans as of now, and the Saints do not plan on trading him.

•   Arthur Blank and the Atlanta Falcons want Calvin Ridley back after the star wideout missed much of the season for personal reasons. According to Rapoport, Blank said that if Ridley doesn’t want to be in Atlanta, the team will deal with that situation when the time comes.

•   For what it’s worth, Calvin Ridley made it known that Chicago was a preferred destination when he was coming out of Alabama in 2018, and the Bears tried their best to trade up from the No. 8 pick in the 2018 NFL draft to make Ridley’s wishes a reality. The Bears couldn’t make it happen in 2018, but it’s never too late to rekindle the romance, right?

•   What in the world is going on with Eric Bieniemy? Once considered a slam-dunk head coaching hire, the Chiefs offensive coordinator was passed on by nine different teams looking for a new head coach since the regular season wrapped. Bieniemy was working on an expiring deal in 2021. According to Adam Schefter, Bieniemy will meet with Chiefs head coach Andy Ried this week to determine his future in Kansas City.

•   Get your calendars out, football fans:

•   More fun with new Miami Dolphins head coach, Mike McDaniel:

•   Ja’Marr Chase won the one-on-one battle with Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey on Sunday:

•   Congratulations to the Los Angeles Rams. Until next season …

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.