The Oakland Athletics were delivered a huge blow Monday when Kyler Murray, their first-round draft pick, decided he is "firmly and fully" committed to the NFL going forward. However, they may have a contingency plan.
Oakland was always willing to allow Murray to participate in the NFL combine and even to go drafted, sources told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The A's reportedly aren't giving up in their pursuit of the two-sport phenom and are willing to offer the outfielder more guaranteed money in a major-league contract if necessary.
As a result of Monday's announcement, Murray will pay back $1.29 million of the $1.5-million bonus he has already received from the Athletics and will not be eligible to receive the remaining $3.16 million.
However, following the NFL draft, the Athletics can choose to offer the full bonus back to Murray in addition to a fully guaranteed major-league deal in order to lure the Heisman winner back to baseball. The Athletics would potentially be able to top any NFL contract, the value of which is dependent on when Murray is drafted.
Murray's statement, which didn't mention baseball or the Athletics, did still catch the club off guard, according to Rosenthal. It came on the same day that Athletics pitchers and catchers arrived at Mesa, Ariz. for spring training. The A's are the first MLB club to report this year.