Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury on Kyler Murray: Our 'long-term goal here' is to have him be our QB

INDIANAPOLIS -- Despite what Kyler Murray's actions on social media -- and via his agent -- may indicate, Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday that the two sides are "in a great place."

"I think our long-term goal here is to have Kyler be our quarterback," Kingsbury told reporters. "He understands that. He understands my view of him and how I feel about him.

"It's all part of the business right now and things we'll continue to work through."

The coach's comments come one day after Murray's agent, Erik Burkhardt -- who also represents Kingsbury -- put out a statement outlining the QB's desire for a long-term deal and calling for Arizona to prioritize locking up its signal-caller.

Kingsbury said he didn't know Burkhardt was releasing a statement and hasn't spoken with Murray since the statement was released. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said he hasn't talked to either Murray or Burkhardt in a few days.

"I think it's an agent doing his job," Keim said of Burkhardt's statement. "Everybody has different styles. ... You have to understand that people have different ways of approaching things, and I respect that. You can't get caught up in taking things personal. It is a business. You have to be able to separate the business and personal side of it."

Keim added there is no reason to believe Murray wouldn't play this year if he doesn't get a new contract and that the Cards intend to pick up the QB's fifth-year option.

The Burkhardt statement was the latest step in Murray's unusual offseason. A month after getting blown out by the Rams in his playoff debut, the Cardinals QB wiped any mention of the team from his social media channels, appearing to indicate frustration with the club. Murray, who is eligible for an extension now following his third season in the league, is guaranteed $5.3 million in 2022, per Over The Cap.

Arizona is frustrated as well with Murray, hoping that the QB takes a step forward in "leadership and maturity," NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported last month.

Kingsbury told reporters that Murray has been "more vocal" and has improved his work ethic since his rookie season, which was also the coach's first in the pros, but indicated the QB needs to improve in a number of areas.

"From where we started Day 1 when he was a rookie just trying to keep his head above water to where we are today, it's leaps and bounds," Kingsbury said. "I said earlier we can all get better. We'll all continue to try to improve, but I've been really pleased with his progression. …

"Just continue to take what a defense gives you. At times, he'll want to make the big play with his feet or with his arms. But when he's finding his checkdown, taking what's there, the underneath stuff, he's really efficient and it helps our offense."

Kingsbury put blame on himself for not aiding Murray late in the season as the Cardinals lost seven of their last 11 games after an undefeated start. Many of those defeats came after DeAndre Hopkins, Murray's top target, went down for the year with a knee injury.

"After doing some reflection, the biggest thing was when we lost Hop, I didn't do a good job schematically adjusting some things that we could've taken some pressure off of Kyler," Kingsbury said. "You lose a piece like that, you've got to find a way to be more creative, I think.

"I think we've improved each year offensively. Obviously, didn't like the way we finished but we've got to continue to be creative, put him in positions to be successful and surround him with talent so that he can make plays."

In addition to getting Hopkins back healthy, the Cardinals hope to keep free agent RBs James Conner and Chase Edmonds and WRs A.J. Green and Christian Kirk in house. Kingsbury said Conner was someone the Cards would "obviously like to bring back," but he wasn't sure Arizona would be able to retain both backs.

Most importantly, the Cards hope to maintain a good working relationship with their star signal-caller, who is looking to bounce back from a career-defining defeat for both QB and coach.

"I think it'll motivate him. There's no doubt," Kingsbury said. "If nothing else, just talking to him, where his head's at, he's highly motivated to be a much better player going into next season."

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