The deadline for Kyler Murray to declare for the NFL draft is fast approaching, and the Oakland Athletics are reportedly attempting to convince their first-round pick to choose baseball, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports.
Executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane is leading the contingent of A's front office executives trying to persuade Murray not to declare for the NFL draft ahead of the Monday, Jan. 14 deadline.
According to a report earlier this week, the Athletics expect Murray to enter the NFL draft, which is set to take place April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.
After being taken ninth overall by the Athletics in the 2018 MLB Draft, Murray signed a $4.66-million bonus on the condition that the outfield prospect could finish his junior year at Oklahoma. The 21-year-old went on to win the Heisman Trophy.
Under MLB's previous collective bargaining agreement, which expired following the 2016 season, the A's would've been able to jointly void Murray's contract and work out a larger deal to dissuade their top selection from leaving. The Chicago Cubs had previously done this with both Jeff Samardzija and Matt Szczur, Baseball America's JJ Cooper recently explained. Both Samardzija and Szczur were wide receivers for their respective colleges. However, under the new CBA, MLB teams are no longer permitted to circumvent bonus rules.
As a fifth-round pick, Samardzija signed a five-year deal worth up to $16.5 million, far exceeding the typical guaranteed salary for any draft selection. Luke Hochevar, who went first overall that year, earned a $3.5-million signing bonus. A typical fifth-round selection that year was due to receive a signing bonus of less than $200,000.
Murray's agent, Scott Boras, has continually asserted that his client will attend spring training with the Athletics, which opens in mid-February. The NFL combine, which will be held from Feb. 26 to Mar. 4 in Indianapolis, will conflict with MLB spring training.