NFL Combine notes: Cards mum on Kyler Murray, AFC West talk and more

Dec 25, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks on against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 25, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks on against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

On Tuesday, a trio of AFC West headliners made some intriguing comments, while the Arizona Cardinals are saying little about Kyler Murray.

INDIANAPOLIS — Steve Keim wasn’t going to make headlines on Tuesday.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, the Arizona Cardinals’ general manager stood at Podium 2 at 3 p.m. ET, and was predictably asked a variety of questions on quarterback Kyler Murray and his stance on the statement released on Monday by Murray’s agent, Erik Burkhardt.

In response, Keim gave an update by giving none at all.

“I haven’t talked to them in a few days.” Keim said. “But there’s always been current dialogue. The one thing I’ll say in regards to the statement, I know everybody’s seen that, I think it’s an agent doing his job.”

A few questions later, Keim was asked whether he was concerned about the potential message being sent if the Cardinals didn’t extend Murray before the upcoming season.


This was followed up by a reporter asking if Keim worries about Murray sitting out 2022 without a new deal.


So what does it mean? Keim won’t say it because there’s no reason to, but the Cardinals have all the leverage. Murray’s representation can put out statements in all caps, typed out in size-64 font and paint it on a billboard in downtown Glendale, and it wouldn’t matter. Arizona. has Murray under contract for the next two years at a cheap cost, and then can tag him for an additional two campaigns.

Murray and Burkhardt can pine for a new contract — and understandably so — but if the Cardinals aren’t ready to extend an offer, there’s little the duo can do other than publicly demand a trade and subsequently withhold services.

For Murray, the argument for an extension is he took over a team which three years ago used the No. 1 overall pick on him. And since then, he’s an Offensive Rookie of the Year, a two-time Pro Bowler and guided Arizona to the playoffs this season.

For the Cardinals, the argument to wait is the team’s 5-10 record with Murray starting over the past two years from November through the end of the regular season, buttressed by his hideous playoff performance and, finally, injury concerns.

Who is right? Doesn’t matter. The Cardinals hold the power, and Keim knows it.

Broncos talk AFC West, but what’s the truth?

The Denver Broncos need to find an answer to a question they’ve been asking for six years.

Who is our long-term answer at quarterback?

While the question is obvious and the answer uncertain, general manager George Paton spoke to the media at the NFL Combine on Tuesday afternoon about a litany of topics, including needing to get better in the AFC West.

Paton spoke about needing to win more divisional games, especially at Mile High. Since winning Super Bowl 50, Denver has an 11-25 interdivisional mark, including a 9-9 mark at home.

Minutes later, new head coach Nathaniel Hackett was asked his thoughts on the matter.

“I think the starting point is a surge of energy in the building,” Hackett said. “The they gave me the keys to come in, I tried to ask them if they knew what they brought in. That’s the starting point, you want those guys to come into the building and learn, and build those relationships. As you create that, those bonds of all the guys being together with the coaches … I think that will improve the play out (of) the gate.”

With respect to the very energetic Hackett, that’s not an answer to curtailing Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. Since 2015, Denver hasn’t beaten the Kansas City Chiefs, losing the last the last 13 meetings. Against Herbert, Denver is a respectable 2-2, but has lost four straight to Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders.

What Hackett can’t say is the real answer. Until Denver gets a serious upgrade at quarterback, it isn’t going to annually compete in the AFC West.

Chiefs set table for free agency with Tyrann Mathieu, Orlando Brown

The Kansas City Chiefs have a couple of big names slated for free agency.

One of them, unsurprisingly, isn’t getting there. The other very well might.

Chiefs general manager Brett Veach spoke to the gathered media on Tuesday and expressed a strong belief the team will use its franchise tag on left tackle Orlando Brown, whom it acquired in April for a multitude of draft picks from the Baltimore Ravens. In the same breath, Veach touched on the situation with Pro Bowl safety Tyrann Mathieu, who could be looking for his fourth team.

“First off with Orlando, I’m sure that’s likely,” Veach said of the tag. “We’re going to work hard to get a deal done with him. After the Cincinnati game we had a chance to talk (with Tyrann Mathieu) and communicated. We certainly love Tyrann and Tyrann loves being here. This is actually the start of that process now. … We know that once Indy rolls around, that obviously on one end see all the great college prospects, but on the other hand have an opportunity to talk with our player’s agents and exchange information.”

Veach added he hopes to get a long-term deal done with Brown efficiently, but sounded pessimistic about getting one in place before the new league year starts on March 16. He noted the deals of Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones from the summer of 2020, stating larger deals typically take longer to finish, but Veach does expect one in place before the ’22 season begins.

Bottom line? Brown isn’t hitting the market, even if it means a $16.5 million cap hit on the tag for Kansas City. As for Mathieu, it seems there’s a real possibility his situation plays out in a variety of ways, including wearing another uniform next season.