NFL: Predicting the week one starting quarterback for all 32 teams

NFL QB Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
NFL QB Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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NFL, Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
NFL, Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray

Going alphabetically, we start with a no-brainer. The Kyler Murray-Kliff Kingsbury pairing in Arizona is working, and while they didn’t quite meet their expectations in 2021, nothing should really change heading into 2022.

Murray and the Cardinals have steadily improved with each of his seasons. After going 5-10-1 during his rookie season, Murray led the Cardinals to an 8-8 standing in 2020 before being 9-5 in the games Murray started this past season.

The catch here is that the window is closing for Murray’s cheap contract. Assuming the Cardinals pick up his fifth-year option (they would be dumb not to), Murray has two years left on his rookie deal. Given what he’s been able to do, he will demand a hefty extension.

If Arizona is going to take advantage of those rookie contract years, time is running out. They have the offensive weapons in place with DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore and many others. They’ve even been able to invest in defensive help with J.J. Watt and others. It’s just hard to have success when your division produces both teams that end up in the NFC Championship. Regardless, Murray is the future of this franchise and will be locked in for the foreseeable future.