Expected to make his return to action in Week 10, Kyler Murray is now officially back on the Cardinals’ 53-man roster. The team used the full three-week practice window but activated Murray just before the deadline.
Murray suffered an ACL tear and meniscus damage in December 2022, and the Cardinals changed regimes during his rehab process. Jonathan Gannon has routinely praised Murray, and with the Cardinals rebuilding, the team has taken a methodical approach to redeploying him. It appears that re-emergence is imminent, however, with Murray all but certain to start against the Falcons in Week 10.
With Murray coming back from the reserve/PUP list, he will not count against the Cardinals’ IR activations. Though, at 1-8, the Cards’ activation number is not exactly a pressing matter. The team gained just 58 total yards against the Browns — the team’s fewest in a game since 1955 — with fifth-round rookie Clayton Tune overmatched against an elite Cleveland pass defense. Murray being on his way back will help Arizona’s offense, though it is worth wondering the team’s overall plans with the dual-threat talent.
After a frisky start, the Cardinals are where most expected them to be: in the running for the No. 1 overall pick. With the Texans looking likely to see their draft slot land outside the top three for the first time since 2020, the Cardinals’ only avenue toward a top-five pick looks to be via their own selection. Murray could impede that path, but Gannon has repeatedly said the fifth-year passer is in this regime’s plans post-2023. If that is the case, seeing Murray develop in OC Drew Petzing‘s offense now would give the Cardinals a good onramp toward the 2024 offseason program.
The Cardinals declared Murray fully healthy last month, which would line up with his rehab timeline. Murray went down Dec. 12, 2022. His return will come 11 months later. That sits behind some recent quarterbacks who recovered from ACL tears, but each injury is different. And, again, it is not like the Cardinals had a playoff spot in mind with regard to Murray’s timetable. Despite speculation of the team drafting a quarterback in 2024, Murray will not be held out for the entire season. This will create an interesting backdrop for the Cardinals, who were in a rebuild when they drafted Murray first overall in 2019.
Arizona’s offense will look a bit different with Murray compared to its 2022 iteration. The team drafted Paris Johnson in April — after…