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, a new report suggests they were always prepared for this eventuality and have a contingency plan.
The A's were reportedly always willing to allow Murray to participate in the NFL combine and even to go drafted, sources told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Oakland is not giving up in its pursuit of the two-sport phenom and is 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, fully aware of the contract value, which is dependent on when Murray is drafted.
Murray's statement, which didn't mention baseball or the Athletics, did still catch Oakland off guard, according to Rosenthal.
The Athletics became the first team in Major League Baseball to report for spring training, as pitchers and catchers arrived at Mesa, Ariz. on Monday, the same day that MLB's ninth overall pick announced his commitment to football.
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