Cardinals Mailbag: This contract gives us Fitz


Welcome to another edition of the Arizona Cardinals mailbag. We take a look at your questions sent to us on Twitter and answer them in this space. Our handle is Cover32_ARI and use the hashtag #32chat so we can see all the questions we get each week.

This week, we’re going to focus on one question since it’s a doozy. Here it is.

What might happen with Larry Fitzgerald’s contract? It doesn’t look he’ll back down from his salary. Chris in Queen Creek

Chris, thanks for the question. Fitzgerald is one of the best receivers in the game and he signed a seven year, $113 million contract. The upcoming 2014-15 season will be the fourth year of the deal, according to His cap number for the upcoming season is $18 million. That figure represents more than 10 percent of the team’s salary cap. It jumps up significantly this season with Fitzgerald’s base pay going from $5 million to $12.75 million for the upcoming season. His bonuses and miscellaneous money stay the same between last season and this season.

It’s the second-biggest contract in the league at that position, trailing only Andre Johnson of the Texans in 2013. He will be the highest paid wide receiver in the game in 2014, beating out Mike Wallace of Miami by $750 thousand for the top spot. Percy Harvin, Calvin Johnson and DeSean Jackson round out the top five. All told there are nine receivers who will be a cap hit of more than $10 million this season.

So it’s safe to say Fitzgerald is going to be up there. Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic wrote this:

The Cardinals haven’t approached Fitzgerald’s agent, Eugene Parker, about restructuring the contract, but they will. Negotiations will be interesting because Fitzgerald isn’t going to take a pay cut.

He will be open to a restructuring that might include converting salary into a bonus that can be prorated over the next few years.

Something has to give, because if Fitzgerald’s cap number doesn’t decrease, the Cardinals will be handicapped when it comes to extending other deals and signing free agents.

Fitzgerald is key to the entire offseason for Arizona. If he stays at his current cap figure it’s going to hurt the team’s ability to sign free agents. Keep in mind, Arizona has 16 free agents coming up this offseason including starters on both sides of the ball. Hopefully his agent and Fitzgerald realize this and give some thought to restructuring his deal for the benefit of the team. Fitzgerald has always come-across as a team-first guy and re-did his deal a few years back to help keep Anquan Boldin on the team.

Keep in mind the issue isn’t how much money but when it gets paid.

Arizona will also have to contend with nearly $10 million in dead money that counts against the cap as well which complicates the situation. Realistically, Fitzgerald’s contract is going determine nearly everything in free agency this season. Without restructuring his deal, he could be traded and that can be explored in another column. Releasing him would put another $10 million into dead money which would hurt the team for a couple more years.

While the actual answer is not yet known, it’s going to come quickly. Free agency opens in a little more than two months and a decision will have to be made.


Check out last week’s mailbag here.

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  • rdo3

    fitz has never been a team 1st guy. he has always demanded top quarterback money only to turn around and claim “i cant throw myself the ball”. really? then why pay him like he can. he cost the cards wins this year, fitz is the reason we missed the playoffs. the ball is intercepted most often when fitz is targeted. the cards should cut fitz even if we take the cap hit this year, it’ll be a one year hit not the multi year hit we gget keeping the bum. eliete reciever? he’s not even the best reciever on the cards mush less the nfl. he hasn’t been a top reciever since signing the contract. and that contract was to help larry not the cards. it hurts the cards and larry dosn’t care. and larry b=playing back seat gm is whatt brought kolb and anderson here. whiz didn’t have thee sense to tell larry to shut up andd catch the ball and it cost him his job. the cards would be a much better team without fitz. fitz has never earned the money and is taking it from the team mates that are. stickign with fitz is like the eagles sticking with vick. just because you made a huge mistake dosn’t mean you have to continue making it.

    and dont even mention trading fitz, no team will be stupid enough to pay a reciever not even in the top 50 like he’s an eliete qb. hell the colts couldn’t trade manning because of a stupid contract and he turns out to be actually worth the money. peyton is another think fitz cost us. if we had been able to give manning fitz’s money we woud still bee undefeated this year.