The 2019 first overall NFL draft choice, quarterback Kyler Murray was once Montreal Alouettes property.
The Alouettes added Murray to their negotiation list in September 2015 while the five-foot-10, 195-pound QB was playing for Texas A&M University as a true freshman. Murray transferred to the University of Oklahoma when the season ended, sitting out the 2016 schedule and backed up 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield in 2017. Mayfield was chosen No. 1 in the 2018 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns and had a strong rookie season. His CFL rights reside with the Toronto Argonauts.
Murray played baseball for Oklahoma in 2018 as a centrefielder batting .296 with 10 home runs, 47 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 51 games. That production led to the Oakland Athletics drafting Murray in the first round, ninth overall of the 2018 MLB draft. Because of the selection if Murray decided to play baseball there was a $4.66 million signing bonus. After Murray was selected high in the MLB, Montreal removed the dual-sport athlete from the team’s neg list.
On the football field in the fall, Murray followed Mayfield as the Sooners starter by throwing for 4,361 yards, 42 touchdowns against seven interceptions with a 69 per cent completion rate while running 140 times for 1,001 yards (7.2 yards-per-carry) and 12 touchdowns. Gaudy totals earned Murray the 2018 Heisman Trophy. The Arizona Cardinals fell in love with Murray’s abilities and took him with the first pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
The last two Heisman winners – Mayfield and Lamar Jackson – are on negotiation lists. And Johnny Manziel is the most recent stiff-arm trophy recipient to play in the three-down league until the CFL forced the Alouettes to release the celebrity quarterback.
It’s a long shot Murray ever plays a down in the CFL – slim to none potentially – but Manziel was drafted in the first round and eventually came north. Toronto has Mayfield on the neg list just in case the bottom falls out of his NFL career. Montreal didn’t feel Murray was worth a spot on the 45-man neg list with the football and baseball opportunities in front of the star athlete.