Kyler Murray isn't your typical undersized Heisman Trophy winner, in search of a potential NFL career.
Conversely, Murray isn't your standard Major League Baseball prospect/bonus baby (No. 9 overall in last year's draft), in terms of biding his time in the minors for three or four years, before making it to The Show.
Like it or not, fans of the Oakland A's (Murray's MLB rights-holder) or NFL franchises seeking star potential at quarterback, the kid has options; and thanks to his famously ruthless super agent (Scott Boras), Murray plans to exercise his available leverage in the next 24 hours.
Monday marks the deadline for college football's draft-eligible underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft (April 25-27).
For Murray, it's not a question of whether he'll return to Oklahoma next fall, in terms of defending his Heisman award or getting the Sooners back to the College Football Playoff.
Instead, Murray's dilemma rests with either committing to the A's full time (Spring Training begins in a few weeks) ... or putting his name in the NFL draft pool and working feverishly to become a first-round selection (guaranteed four-year contract, with a team option for Year 5).
Of course, money will be a deciding factor for Murray, who reportedly wants a major-league contract of $15 million before Monday afternoon–in addition to the $5 million signing bonus from months ago–or he'll take his chances with the NFL draft.
Is this a money grab? Potentially. Whatever the case, it certainly makes for good theater.
Here are four burning questions regarding Murray's football-or-baseball conundrum:
ARE THE A'S ALLOWED TO RENEGOTIATE ANOTHER DEAL WITH MURRAY, LESS THAN ONE YEAR AFTER THE ORIGINAL SIGNING?
Technically, no. But all signs points to Major League Baseball looking the other way on this special case.
Check out this Tweet (below):
WHAT'S MURRAY'S BETTER SPORT?
That's a tough one.
Murray (Oakland's No. 4 prospect) posted superb numbers for his only full baseball campaign at Oklahoma: 10 HRs, 47 RBI, 46 runs, 10 steals, .296 batting, .398 on-base percentage and .954 OPS (51 games).
What's more, Murray projects to be an every-day center fielder for 10-15 years in the majors, presumably as a top-of-the-order threat.
On the football side, Murray's Heisman campaign included eye-popping stats: 4,361 yards passing (1,001 rushing) and 54 total touchdowns (42 passing).
But, ay, the rub: At 5-foot-10, 195 pounds, Murray is hardly a lock for NFL stardom ... and thus, getting selected in Round 1.
Conventional thinking dictates baseball would be Murray's more palatable decision. At the same time, it also doesn't compare to the potential fame and fortune of being an NFL quarterback.
WHICH SPORT DOES MURRAY COVET MORE?
Do you remember Drew Henson?
Twenty years ago, the can't-miss wunderkind from Brighton, Michigan seemingly had the potential to be a major league third baseman ... and/or a starting quarterback at the NFL level.
How good was this kid? For his freshman/sophomore years at Michigan, Henson was famously embroiled in a time-share quarterback battle with a future NFL icon: Tom Brady.
So, how did Henson's two-sport dreams get squashed?
For starters, Henson could never reach an exclusive decision with baseball or football. Instead, he tried to perform double duty and devote himself to Michigan football ... and playing third base in the New York Yankees system, full time.
Big mistake, in hindsight.
In the end, Henson didn't have the consistent bat to get to the major leagues, and his lone NFL start–for the Cowboys on Thanksgiving (2004)–ended after one half of wretched play.
Fast forward to the present: Henson represents a cautionary tale for two-sport stars who want their proverbial cake and eat it too.
The best path to happiness, as the modern-day Henson often points out: Pick the one sport you can't live without ... and attack it with gusto.
SHOULD THE A'S MEET MURRAY'S IMMINENT DEMAND ... OR WAIT THIS OUT A FEW MONTHS?
The above question sparked a vociferous debate in the 11Alive newsroom.
On one hand, it would be wise for the Athletics to accommodate Murray. Here's why:
a) Murray would be readily available for Spring Training (Mesa, Arizona).
b) The cost-effective franchise has been campaigning for a new stadium for some time, and Murray–along with a cast of young studs (Oakland won 97 games last season)–could be the requisite face of this billion-dollar endeavor.
c) MLB desperately wants to harness the star power/imagery of Murray wearing a major league uniform for 10-15 years.
(Think of the drawing power at various minor-league stops, too.)
On the flip side, what's the harm in the A's waiting out Murray's NFL chances of securing guaranteed money as a first-round pick?
After all, the idea of Murray pursuing football sounds great on paper; but NFL teams aren't usually prone to investing high-round selections on smallish quarterbacks ... who might choose baseball if they're not selected in Round 1.
That's how NFL general managers get fired. There's little tolerance for wasted high picks.